Cyclist died after falling in Chesterfield Canal

Chesterfield Canal, where Anthony Maxfield's body was found.
Chesterfield Canal, where Anthony Maxfield's body was found.

A keen cyclist drowned when he accidentally fell into Chesterfield Canal, an inquest heard.

Anthony Maxfield, 59, an IT technician, set out from his home on Station Street at about 6.30pm on December 15 last year for a cycle ride along the canal towards Staveley.

Later that evening Peter Ellis, who was walking home from work, spotted a bike on its side near the canal with the light still on - not far from Hollingwood Lock - at approximately 7pm.

After searching around with the light, Mr Ellis looked into the canal and saw the body of a man face down in the water.

He panicked and went home where he then contacted his sister Jenny who dialled 999.

Police removed the body from the canal and Mr Maxfield was pronounced dead at the scene.

Speaking at the inquest at Chesterfield coroners’ court, Detective Neil Burley, of Derbyshire police, said: “There were no injuries on him or discarded items in the area to suggest any suspicious circumstances in this case.”

A medical examination concluded that death was caused by drowning but could not confirm how the man, who was later identified as Mr Maxfield, got into the water.

Dr Sheik Salek, who presented the findings to the coroner, went on to say that Mr Maxfield was found to have a significant amount of alcohol in his blood stream which may have impeded his judgement.

He was also found to have signs of an irregular heartbeat and he was known to have high blood pressure but Dr Salek ruled out a heart attack as a possible cause.

He said: “The poor lighting along the canal may have impeded his sight causing him to fall into the river but this is only a speculation.”

Summing up, coroner James Newman said: “We will never know exactly what caused him to fall into the water – it may be one, two or all three of the reasons mentioned earlier but I am clear that this death was accidental in nature.”