A British dad died in a swimming pool tragedy while on a stag do celebration on a sunshine island.
An inquest into father-of-two Andrew John Openshaw’s death was unable to ascertain whether the injuries he suffered were accidental or whether his life was taken unlawfully.
Mystery surrounds how the 34-year-old fell into an empty swimming pool on the island of Tenerife, sustaining ‘a catastrophic brain injury’ which cost him his life.
But his family believe he may have been attacked before his fall in February 2014.
He was given just 48 hours to live but died over three years later, on July 15, 2017, at Salford Royal Infirmary after multi-organ failure, after friends had raised £30,000 to bring him home.
Andy, of Leigh, Greater Manchester, was one of a group of men who had flown to Tenerife on January 31, 2014, for a stag party.
During the day, he had been seen consuming ‘an unknown, but significant quantity’ of alcohol.
He was seen after midnight near the gates of a partially occupied, semi-derelict compound block known as the San Rafael Apartments in Playa de las Americas.
At about 1am on February 1, he was discovered by emergency services in a collapsed, unresponsive condition, dressed in just his boxer shorts at the bottom of the three-metre deep end of an unfilled swimming pool.
The remainder of his clothing was recovered near the edge of the shallow end of the pool.
Andy was admitted to a local hospital, where it was confirmed he had suffered extensive skull and brain injuries with multiple spinal fractures.
He also suffered from a fracture to one of his right fingers, but how that injury came about could not be established at the inquest.
Senior coroner for Greater Manchester West, Timothy Brennand, sitting at Bolton, said: “The precise circumstances as to what caused Andy to fall into the empty swimming pool cannot be established.”
Andy was repatriated to the UK on February 2014, and received long-term inpatient rehabilitation care at the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust.
He was eventually discharged, but required continual care and despite adaptations to his home was essentially immobile, although he did manage some movement in his right arm.
He was deemed fit to be questioned by Greater Manchester Police, helped by an intermediary, where he made an allegation of assault before his fall.
“These were investigated by police and deemed not to be a viable basis for the institution of criminal proceedings,” said Mr Brennand.
“The veracity of the allegations cannot be evaluated.”
In April, 2017, Andy underwent surgery on his bowel and treatment for acute kidney injury at Wigan Royal Albert Edward Infirmary.
He was admitted to Salford Royal Hospital and was eventually incubated and his care escalated to the intensive care unit but died on July 15.
Andrew’s family believe he may have been attacked before his fall, based on an analysis of his injuries when he was brought back to the UK.
His family claimed the “complex case is littered with inconsistent testimonies and conflicting reports”.
Speaking during the inquest, Andy’s wife Laura said: “I am a firm believer that the truth never changes.
“I truly believe that there was something untoward that night in that country.”
After being given just 48 hours to live at the hospital in Tenerife, his family raised £30,000 to fly him back to the UK.
Mr Brennand gave a narrative conclusion to the hearing, stating Andy “died of a combination of recognised complications of long-term immobility and a catastrophic brain injury when his head struck the bottom of an empty swimming pool in circumstance that cannot be established on a balance of probabilities”.
He asked Detective Chief Inspector Paul Rawlinson, who has led the investigation to “keep me informed” after reports an eyewitness who saw what happened to Andy, may have come forward hours before the coroner was about to deliver his findings.
Mr Brennand offered to adjourn the inquest so that the witness could be interviewed while Andy’s family agreed for its conclusion to be delivered.