Pub landlord, 29, died in freezing river after drunken row with Coronation Street’s Les Battersby

February 14, 2014 | by | 1 Comment
Justin Mathis drowned after a row with Coronation Street actor Bruce Jones

Justin Mathis drowned after a row with Coronation Street actor Bruce Jones

A pub landlord died after plunging into a river estuary after he disappeared following a boozy argument with Coronation Street star Bruce Jones, an inquest heard.

Justin Mathis, 29, vanished from the George and Dragon pub in Conwy, North Wales, after a row with the actor, who played Les Battersby in the ITV soap.

An inquest heard Mr Mathis drunkenly called Jones a “knobhead”, “prick” and a “pillock” before storming out of the pub on February 3, 2011.

The publican was reported missing the following day after he failed to return to the bar he ran in the picturesque coastal town.

Despite an extensive coastguard, RNLI and an underwater search his body was never found.

A few days later one of his boots was discovered on the opposite side of the Conwy estuary at Deganwy.

At a hearing at Gruthin County Hall on Thursday John Gittins, coroner for North Wales East and Central, recorded a cause of death as “unascertained”.

He concluded Mr Mathis probably fell into the water and addressing his distraught family added. “I can give you legal closure but not emotional closure.

“I am entirely satisfied Justin had not deliberately taken his own life and it seems likely that he had fallen into the water.”

The hearing was told Mathis had gone out with his partner to celebrate the end of a busy festive period at the pub he ran called the Bridge Inn.

But after becoming “drunk and argumentative” he went to a rival pub to confront the landlord about holding quiz nights on the same night as his.

As he argued with licensee Graham Roberts, Mr Jones who played Corrie’s resident alcoholic, walked past them in a corridor.

In a statement read at the hearing Mr Jones, who has admitted suffering from depression, said Mr Mathis shouted abuse but he did not respond.

The former soap star said he intervened when Mr Mathis took a swing at an elderly customer, and the publican then left the bar.

Local resident Anthony Carr told police he saw a man sitting or crouching close to the sea wall and CCTV footage showed him entering the quay area shortly before midnight but not leaving.

After the hearing Mr Williams’ father Wyn Williams paid tribute to the police and other emergency services for their efforts during the search.

Verdict: Open.

Category: News

Comments (1)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This story is one sided to Bruce’s story, Bruce wound my brother up to the point that they were nearly fighting. No one else! And the headline that he drowned is disgusting, you re assuming and not thinking about Justin’s family!
    You have no facts just going with what a washed up ‘star’ is saying

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