A man who drowned in Aberford Park brook in September fell in because he was drunk.

In an inquest held this week, Hertfordshire coroner Edward Thomas said 49-year-old Peter Clark, of Shenwood Court, in Green Street, Borehamwood, had a history of alcohol problems and used a walking stick because of a severe back condition.

Tests carried out as part of a post mortem showed he had 244mg of alcohol in his blood, which equates to being three times over the drink-driving limit.

Notes from his GP at Fairbrook Medical Centre, in Fairway Avenue, Borehamwood, where he first registered in 1995, showed he had been treated for depression, alcoholism and a disability causing severe back pain.

Detective constable Gail Barrett said police were called to the lake in Brook Road, Borehamwood, at 1.05pm on September 19 by a man who had been walking towards Gateshead Road with his young son.

The man spotted some red clothing in the water and on closer inspection realised it was a body.

Det Con Barrett added: "The area where Peter was is large with lots of reeds.

It's quite deceptive as you walk along, and the ground isn't as firm as you might think it is."

"It was very hard to see him there. He wasn't easily visible from the road."

Police initially identified Mr Clark from his British Legion membership card.

Det Con Barrett said police found no evidence to suggest he meant to harm himslf when they searched his room at the hostel in which he lived.

He was last seen alive picking up his post by the hostel manager the day before his body was found.

Later on in the hearing, a family member suggested he might have been on his way to a betting shop in Leeming Road which he was known to frequent.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Thomas said: "Alcohol levels and difficulties with walking may have contributed to him falling into the river."