Date: 6 Jan 2018
Steven Dyson was found dead in the River Irwell on 6 January 2018.
He was last seen fleeing a New Year’s Eve party where he was attacked.
A man that had assaulted him at the party was later convicted of common assault and ordered to do 240 hours unpaid work and pay £150 in costs plus an £85 victim surcharge.
Steven Dyson had been to a New Year’s Eve party in St Andrew’s Close, Ramsbottom where he was punched by the other man outside as he was leaving and seen to run away at about 9am. His post-mortem examination stated that he had had bruising on his jaw and that his nose was broken.
Steven Dyson's parents had lived in Beechwood Avenue, Ramsbottom but he had lived in Bury, Greater Manchester and had worked at House of Fraser in Manchester.
He had left home at about 10.30pm and gone to the Grey Mare pub in Ramsbottom before going to the party.
It was said that cannabis and cocaine had been consumed at the party and that Steven Dyson had left at 5.30am to go to a cash machine in Bridge Street, Ramsbottom where he withdrew some money before going to a petrol station to get some more alcohol.
He had ordered a taxi to pick him up from the party at about 9am but as it arrived to pick him up he got into an altercation with the other man who punched him, causing facial injuries and his face to bleed. He then ran off, looking 'extremely scared' and fell over but got up and ran off along St Andrew’s Close towards Nuttall Lane which led towards the river. He was also seen by a man that had been looking out of his kitchen window at the time crossing the field at the back of his house and heading off along the tree line at the back of the river which was the last time he was seen alive. The man noted that he didn't see anyone else following the person that he had seen.
It was said that the direction that he took would have taken him to a footpath that ran along the River Irwell which was described as 'treacherous' at that time of year, it being described as being extremely muddy and slippery and with lots of tree roots. The water level was also noted as having been very high at the time due to a lot of recent rain.
Before his body was found it was reported that he was thought to have been targeted in a 'big brawl'.
St Andrew’s Close was not far from the River Irwell and Steven Dyson was found in the river about a mile downstream.
At his inquest the Coroner said that it was not possible to rule out the possibility that Steven Dyson had been suffering from mild concussion as a result of being punched at the time he might have gone into the water and an open verdict was returned. It was noted that he had entered the water before drowning but the Coroner said that it was impossible to say for certain how Steven Dyson ended up in the water.
It was also heard that the route that Steven Dyson might have taken along the river was 'very precarious' and that he had taken cocaine which might also have affected his judgement leading him to take on a higher level of risk. His post-mortem stated that he had 'recreational levels' of cocaine in his system as well as 130 micrograms of alcohol in his blood although it was thought that that could have been higher due to the amount of time he had been in the water. It was also noted that there was also the possibility that he had suffered from hyperthermia.
Following the delivery of the open verdict, Steven Dyson's mother said, 'The conclusion is the one we wanted from the outset. I don’t believe his death was of his choosing, but as a result of the assault at the party'.