Published: March 13, 2009
Body of churchgoer was found washed up on Burnham-On-Sea beach

An inquest heard this week how a psychotic churchgoer drowned after being swept out to sea as he tried to baptise himself - and his body was later found washed up on Burnham-On-Sea beach.

Gary Lane, of Clarence Road North in Weston, walked out into treacherous waters off Anchor Head, near Weston, last May after apparently being told in his prayers to cleanse himself, an inquest heard.

He plunged into the sea off Weston Bay and was immediately caught up by deadly currents and killed.

The 43-year-old was found a day later, on May 5th at 6.30am, floating face down in the water near Burnham-On-Sea jetty and the body was retrieved by a Burnham lifeboat crew (pictured) and Coastguards - as first reported by here.

His father, Dennis, told a coroner's court in Bridgwater that his son was suffering psychosis, and was described as a 'complex case' by doctors.

Dennis, who lives with his wife in a flat under their son, said: "If a thought went into his head that he had to do something, then he had to do it no matter how bizarre it was. I believe during his prayers it came to him to baptise and freshen himself. I think he walked to the sea and went for total emersion, not releasing the currents."

"He took his keys with him because he wanted to come back, I don't think he entered the sea to commit suicide."

He explained how his son suffered increasing mental illness after being taken off epilim to treat his epileptic fits. Leading up to his death he had attempted to commit suicide, taking an overdose of drugs while staying in an Uphill bed and breakfast.

The body on the beach was confirmed as Gary's and a pathological test found he had died from drowning. Coroner Michael Rose called the case "tragic" and offered his sympathies to Gary's parents.

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