AN ADVENTURE-loving character who lived life to the full died after taking a recreational dinghy onto a swollen river with his partner's 13-year-old son in the middle of the night, an inquest heard.

During a dramatic hearing at Colburn Innovate Centre - which saw coroner Rob Turnbull repeatedly tell spectators to be quiet - the dead man's girlfriend admitted she lied to police about her son accompanying him.

Mark Allan, 35, a delivery driver from Brompton-on-Swale, was found dead at 9.10am on April 7 last year after taking Harvy D'Silva out hours earlier following a drinking session.

Mr Allan and Kursten D'Silva had moved into the village just three weeks earlier and the family were celebrating Easter on the evening of April 6.

Miss D'Silva said: "We had been drinking a lot - Mark had around ten cans of lager - and we let Harvy stay up later than usual.

"I remember Mark saying he wanted to take the dinghy out. It was the sort of crazy thing he would say so it just went over my head."

Miss D'Silva told the inquest she fell asleep on the sofa and the next thing she remembered was being woken by Harvy at around 4.30am, telling her they had fallen into the water but everything was fine and Mr Allan was just behind him.

Although she called police, Miss D'Silva did not inform them her son had been with Mr Allan on the river, saying she wanted to protect the youngster.

Harvy D'Silva told the inquest: "We got into trouble when the dinghy overturned - Mark managed to get out but had to get back into the river to save me because I was stuck on a tree branch."

But when both were safely on the river bank Mr Allan told Harvy to go home without him, and was crouched on the ground as Harvy left.

Experienced kayaker PC Martin Usher described the river conditions as "absolutely treacherous."

A post mortem confirmed Mr Allan died of hypothermia and Mr Turnbull concluded his death was as a result of an accident.

He said: "This has been a difficult case because evidence has been withheld - this is a tragedy but it stemmed from his actions."

His parents Bill and Barbara Allan said: "We will miss Mark every day but the fun and memories will be with us forever."