Nathan Cole: Accountant going to Camden gig had heart attack and fell in Tottenham Marshes near Walthamstow

Nathan Cole had planned to go to a show by Mr Scruff at Koko in Camden when he died in January.
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A "brilliant" accountant died after suffering a heart attack and falling into a canal, a coroner has ruled.

Nathan Cole went missing in January after setting out for a concert in Camden, north London. But his body was discovered in a canal in Tottenham Marshes, near Walthamstow, around a month on from his disappearance.

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The 32-year-old struggled with his mental health and regularly took ketamine. His family said he suffered a breakdown in 2021, adding: "Regrettably, he never received the proper mental health care and support that he and so many young people were desperate for during that terrible period of lockdown.

"Like so many, he could only find solace in self-medication and self-harm that led to severe depression which inevitably contributed to him losing his life under very traumatic circumstances earlier this year."

After his disappearance, Police launched extensive searches of canals in the area and staged a reconstruction of the last night the ex-Bath University student was seen.

Assistant coroner Dr Peter Straker has ruled that Cole died of a similar heart condition suffered by professional footballer Christian Eriksen during the European Championships in May 2021. Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest but was revived by medics on the pitch.

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Dr Straker suggested Cole suffered a similar fate in January this year after drinking and taking ketamine before falling into the River Lee in north London.

His family said a knife attack suffered by "kind" Cole in 2008 had been partially paralysed in his left arm and resulted in years of "mental anguish", for which he self-medicated.

Paying tribute, they said in a statement: "'Nathan was, academically and intellectually, a brilliant son, achieving a masters degree at Bath University and a further teaching degree at Sheffield.

"He achieved all this despite being the victim of a vicious knife attack in 2008 that left him partly paralysed in his left arm and caused him many years of mental anguish, eventually culminating in psychological trauma and a breakdown in 2021 during lockdown.

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"Regrettably, he never received the proper mental health care and support that he and so many young people were desperate for during that terrible period of lockdown. Like so many, he could only find solace in self-medication and self-harm that led to severe depression which inevitably contributed to him losing his life under very traumatic circumstances earlier this year."

Nathan Cole. (Photo by MPS)Nathan Cole. (Photo by MPS)
Nathan Cole. (Photo by MPS)

A post-mortem report read out during Mr Cole’s inquest heard no water was found in his lungs, suggesting he was already dead when his body hit the water. Dr Straker added that he found no evidence of ‘foul play’ in the police investigation into Cole’s death.

He said: “I believe everything has been done by the police to exclude foul play. I can only conclude this was an accident. It seems to me that Nathan acquired some ketamine and went to northeast London, perhaps ostensibly to get his snood back [from a friend]...

"There was an element of chaotic behaviour - perhaps attributable to intoxication - and at some point he has accidentally [fallen] into the water. There was a Christian Eriksen-style cardiac arrhythmia, which caused him to not breathe in the water."

Nathan Cole. (Photo by MPS)Nathan Cole. (Photo by MPS)
Nathan Cole. (Photo by MPS)
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Recording a conclusion of accidental death, Dr Straker added that the freezing January temperatures of the River Lee may have caused Cole's heart to stop beating instantly upon impact with the water.

"In the case of Christian Eriksen, he was at a football game where they resuscitated him. It's the same type of thing that happens when someone hits the water and their heart just instantly stops.

"That's my only way of marrying up the autopsy findings with this account and of the extremely helpful description of how ketamine affected Nathan. That, to me, is the most likely thing that happened."

The inquest, at North London Coroner's Court, heard Mr Cole had planned to go to watch the DJ Mr Scruff at Camden's Koko venue on the night of January 21.

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He told his mother he would likely be back late, around 3am, and had previously asked one of his younger brothers, Matthew, whether he wanted to join him.

Family members told the inquest Cole, who had studied pharmacy at Bath University, frequently took ketamine and drank to excess.

On the night he disappeared, police officers said he had bought some ketamine - a Class B recreational drug with some hallucinogenic effects used as an anaesthetic for horses and to treat depression and pain management in humans - and some cans of beer.

He later travelled to Tottenham Marshes in northeast London, where he was last seen on CCTV just before midnight - footage of which police released in their subsequent search.

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The body of the former teacher, who lived in Kensington & Chelsea, was found around four weeks later, not far from where he was believed to have fallen into the River Lee.

His family added: "Nathan leaves behind four younger siblings who all admired him immensely for his massive intellect, incredible talent, academic brilliance, wonderful inspiration, witty conversation and the fact he was so kind, care-free and, ultimately, so unique. He will never leave our hearts and will be loved always and forever."