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‘Steaming’ man’s final moments captured on CCTV before he fell in canal and drowned

Tragic pictures show the final moments of a former air cadet who drowned in a canal after a drunken night out.

Caspar Blackburn, 22, had told friends he was ‘steaming’ – but his pals thought he had walked home after leaving a bar.

An inquest heard he had drunk most of a 35cl bottle of Jack Daniels plus vodka and whiskey cocktails, and had fallen off a bar stool earlier in the night.

The assistant store manager was last seen alive sat on a bench near the Bridgewater Canal in Sale, Greater Manchester. His friends thought he had gone home.

But police were called in after Caspar mysteriously disappeared, sparking a major missing persons hunt.

'Steaming' man's final moments captured on CCTV before he fell in canal and drowned

Caspar Blackburn’s body was found in the Bridgewater Canal in Sale, Manchester

CCTV images captured the moment he left the Slug and Lettuce bar at 2am.

A weeks later Caspar was found dead in the 1.5 metre deep canal, just 200 metres from the pub – with tests showing he would have the equivalent of almost twice the drink driving limit.

Investigations have not been able to establish why he entered the water.

The tragedy occurred last September 30 after Caspar, from Sale, who worked for retail chain Carpet Right, joined friends Sean Griffin, Joel Pecak, Bradley McCormack and Steven Dodds.

'Steaming' man's final moments captured on CCTV before he fell in canal and drowned

Caspar was drinking heavily during the night before he disappeared

'Steaming' man's final moments captured on CCTV before he fell in canal and drowned

Police do not know why Caspar entered the water close to the bar

Joel told the Stockport hearing: “I was drunk but he seemed fine, he was normal, like he usually was when he was drink.

“We stayed until 2am. He wasn’t unsteady on his feet or anything. I can’t remember walking out with him.

“When I came out I saw him sat on a bench outside Slug and Lettuce. I spoke to him about some girls that I had seen and asked if he wanted to speak to them with me.

“He just said ‘I’m too steaming’ then I said ‘we’ll be there’ in reference to Tastebuds (fast food restaurant) across the road.

'Steaming' man's final moments captured on CCTV before he fell in canal and drowned

Caspar was 22 when he died following a night out with friends

“We usually go to Tastebuds after a night out for some takeaway. I never saw him move from the bench.

“After I spoke to him I didn’t see him again. I got home in a taxi. We never share taxis as he lives the opposite way. He used to sit down and have a cigarette outside. This wasn’t out of the blue for him.”

But Joel said he was anxious when his friend did not pick up his phone, stating: “I didn’t know how he was going to get home. I called Caspar four times after 2am. All before 2.30am.

“I was seeing where he was. I looked from across the street and I couldn’t see him there so I assumed he had gone home. He would usually wait for others to decide where to go. I don’t remember anything upsetting him.”

'Steaming' man's final moments captured on CCTV before he fell in canal and drowned

Friends became anxious about Caspar when he didn’t answer his phone

'Steaming' man's final moments captured on CCTV before he fell in canal and drowned

Caspar’s dad Robert has called for safety improvements to be made to the canal

Steven Dodds said: “Caspar drove to my house and got there at around half nine to ten ish. He left his car outside my house.

“He drank a small bottle of Jack Daniels, there was about a quarter of a bottle left.

“He seemed perfectly normal. I think he was drinking vodka and orange with Sean and double whisky cocktails. When we left Slug and Lettuce he walked out behind me.

“We came out and walked up the hill towards the main road. I was going to the cash point. I didn’t notice he wasn’t behind me until I was halfway up the hill.”

And he continued: “I called him the next day at about half 10 to come and pick his car up. I called him several times but his phone was off. He was drunk but there was nothing more than usual.”

'Steaming' man's final moments captured on CCTV before he fell in canal and drowned

Claudine Robertson and Robert Blackburn, grandmother and father of tragic Caspar

Bradley McCormack said: “I’ve known Caspar since we were in the air cadets.

“That night I had drank quite a lot before hand so only had a cocktail at Slug and Lettuce. We were drinking, having banter and playing darts with Caspar.

“I didn’t see him outside when we left. I thought he had walked home. I walked home. It wasn’t until I got the phone call from Joel saying he was missing. I messaged him on Facebook and Joel told me he called him a couple of times.”

Catherine Waghorn, another pub-goer out with friends, said in a statement: “I didn’t know Caspar but he had been sat on a bar stool at the Slug and Lettuce which was really high.

“He just fell off. I didn’t notice him again after that. I think it was just an accident.”

Police found Caspar’s body after a call had come in from a dog walker on the morning of October 7, 2017.

Det Insp Carl Gilbert said: “Looking at the CCTV from Tastebuds we can see Caspar leaving Slug and Lettuce with Steven Dodds.

'Steaming' man's final moments captured on CCTV before he fell in canal and drowned

CCTV footage shows the last time Caspar was seen alive as he left the bar with friends

“The last sighting was at 2.03am. There was no other CCTV recovered nearby to show his movements. He appeared to be intoxicated but there was no stumbling around.

“There was no evidence to suggest he walked into the water and we cannot say if he fell into the water or not.

“There was no lighting around the canal, or barriers to condone off the canal from the footpath. It was impossible to see it at the time of night.

“There was no third party involvement and no suspicious circumstances. There was no evidence he was with anyone when he entered the water.

“The last text message sent was at 21.37 on Saturday night and the phone disconnected from an IP session at 1.57am.

“He had to have come down from Slug and Lettuce to be near the canal but there is no evidence to prove if he did go that was.

“It could have been a route home for Caspar. Nobody can say definitely what happened”

Tests showed Caspar 145 milligrams of alcohol in 100 mililitres of blood. The legal alcohol limit for driving is 80mg.

Robert Blackburn, Caspar’s father told the inquest: “He was an intelligent young man who was very kind. I want to see improvements made on the canal, including lighting and CCTV so it’s easier for people to see.”

The hearing was adjourned until Thursday for the coroner to record a verdict.

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