A father drowned when he went swimming in a canal with enough alcohol in his system to put him in a coma, an inquest heard.

Leszek Sliwowski, 51, was seen entering the water in his boxer shorts at the River Lee Navigation Canal, in Towpath Road, Upper Edmonton, at 12.30pm on July 16 last year.

North London Coroner’s Court heard witnesses realised he had not returned after swimming under a bridge, and raised the alarm before spotting him floating face down in the water.

A police officer who arrived at the scene waded into the murky canal up to his shoulders.

He told the court that, after feeling around under the water with his feet, he was able to find Mr Sliwowski and pull him to the side.

But, despite the efforts of emergency services, the Polish-born builder, of Mitchley Road, Tottenham, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Toxicology tests found his blood contained 320 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood – enough to put an average person into a coma, the court heard.

Coroner Andrew Walker recorded a verdict of accidental death and praised PC Richard Talmadge for his bravery in wading into the water to pull Mr Sliwowski from the canal bed.

He said: “What you did was courageous and brave. You had every reason to stay and wait for assistance and for others to recover Mr Sliwowski but you took it upon yourself to go in and do it yourself. You are to be commended for that.”

Mr Sliwowski's body was found face down in the River Lee Navigation Canal