'Loving man' died after falling into river, inquest hears

Floral tributes to Laurence Harvey who died in the River Wensum in Norwich. Picture: Simon Parkin

The inquest into Laurence Harvey's death resumed on June 14. - Credit: Simon Parkin

A Norwich man with learning difficulties was moved multiple times in the months before he drowned, an inquest into his death heard. 

But Yvonne Blake, area coroner for Norfolk, said these concerns had been looked and did not need to be pursued as she reopened the inquest into the death of Laurence Harvey, on Monday, June 14.

Mr Harvey 37,  drowned after falling into the River Wensum near Norwich yacht club on June 19, 2020.

The inquest heard Mr Harvey had been moved from Swanton Care's Treeview Court, in Crome Road, Norwich, after being assaulted by another resident.

He was moved into a flat in Paradise Place in September 2019, and received support from carers to support independent living.

Due to plumbing and electrical concerns, he was then moved into bed and breakfast accommodation in Norwich for several weeks and was found new accommodation in King's Street at the start of June 2020.

Ms Blake said: "This has gone rather beyond the direct circumstances due to concerns about his accommodation. I am satisfied that has been looked at."

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The inquest heard concerns Mr Harvey was the subject of exploitative relationships. He had mild learning disability and adult ADHD, which his parents said gave him the mental age of a 13-year-old.

Social workers and care staff said they worked with Mr Harvey discussing relationships and assisted him in managing his finances as part of his care package. 

In a statement, his mother Hilary Harvey said he was very happy living at Treeview Court, but said they had not been made aware of her son's assault until he told her. 

She said Swanton Care told her "what happens is between ourselves and him" and said that she did not understand why he had to be moved around.

Mrs Harvey added: "He was a very loving man who would do anything for everybody."

The court heard Mr Harvey had a number of interests, including fishing and attending a Men's Shed. 

On June 18, witness and boat owner Ben Chapman said the 37-year-old had come down to the riverside with his ex-partner and their new partner. They shared a quarter bottle of rum. 

At 12.35am on June 19 Mr Chapman was told there was a splash and Mr Harvey had gone in, after seeing him on his own five minutes earlier.

Mr Harvey's body was recovered at 4.55am on June 19.

The inquest will resume on Tuesday. 


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