Woman died after falling into Doncaster canal following drinking session

A young woman died after she fell into a Doncaster canal following a drinking session.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 2nd December 2016, 8:51 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 3:24 pm

An inquest was told that Sylvia Monika Podgarbi, aged 24, was heard falling into the water but could not be resuscitated until more than half an hour after she had originally gone in.

The strong current had made it difficult to pull her out.

Polish-born Ms Podgarbi had left her home on Jubilee Road, Doncaster after a row with her partner Grezgorz Jaszowski on June 21 this year, heard Doncaster assistant coroner Louise Slater.

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She struck up a conversation with two strangers – Janusz Klarkowski and Tomasz Witwicki – just after 10pm and they spent several hours drinking beer, smoking and talking.

Mr Klarkowski and Mr Witwicki told the inquest how factory worker Ms Podgarbi seemed very ‘up and down’ for most of the evening.

Both Mr Klarkowski and Mr Witwicki told the inquest how Ms Podgarbi, who was employed as a factory worker, seemed very ‘up and down’ for most of the evening they spent together.

Mr Klarkowski said: “At times she was very happy, and then other times very sad.

“She said she wanted to (kill herself), that she wanted to throw herself in the water, but I thought she was joking.”

The court heard the two men took Ms Podgarbi back to her home a number of times, but she was unable to get in because the door was locked and her partner was not answering.

After drinking for some time on the street Mr Klarkowski and Mr Witwicki suggested moving on to the canalside at the River Don Navigation Canal near to Doncaster College.

Ms Podgarbi agreed and the trio made their way there, and sat under the Chappell Drive bridge drinking with their legs dangling over the canalside.

Just after 3am the group agreed to go home and Ms Podgarbi appeared calm, said Mr Klarkowski.

Mr Klarkowski said he heard a big splash and Ms Podgarbi shouting for help – and after turning round he said he saw her struggling in the water.

He said: “I threw my phone and then jumped into the water..to try and save her.”

He said he tried to pull her out of the water but the current was too strong and made him fear for his own life.

He got out of the water and the two men called the emergency services from a nearby petrol station. Paramedics arrived at around 3.15am.

Due to the dangerous conditions in the water both paramedics and police were unable to get Ms Podgarbi out, and were told to wait for a fire and rescue crew.

The fire service arrived around 10 minutes later, and a firefighter used a long rod to pull her out of the water.

Ms Podgarbi was then resuscitated by paramedics, around 35 minutes after first falling into the canal.

She was then rushed to Doncaster Royal Infirmary for treatment but died three days later on June 24.

Consultant pathologist Dr Rahul Bhobe confirmed Ms Podgarbi died of a chest infection and brain injuries caused by her being submerged by water.

He told the court blood levels showed she had drunk four-and-a-half times the legal limit permitted for anyone intending to drive.

Assistant Coroner Louise Slater recorded a conclusion of accidental death and passed her condolences on to Ms Podgarbi’s family and partner.