A 25-year-old Greenwich man walked into the Thames and drowned after struggling with depression and breaking up with his partner, an inquest heard.

Jake Vincent, of Park Mews, kissed his mother goodbye and left a note in his ex-partner’s pocket on the night he went into the river.

In a statement read to Southwark Coroner’s Court, Mr Vincent’s mother Emma Burmis described her son’s anguish at having split up with his partner James soon before his death.

But Ms Burmis said he was looking forward to a new job and a fresh start outside of Greenwich, and described him as amicable.

She said: “He treated people with kindness and fairness – which wasn’t always deserved.”

Witness David Scott, an engineer who was walking along the Thames with his family at the time, described what he saw in a statement read to the court.

On July 25 of last year, Mr Scott saw a man walking from the direction of the Trafalgar Tavern pub towards Greenwich Pier and, thinking he was paddling, shouted to ask if he was ok and called the police when he got no response.


Mr Scott said: “The man continued to walk in and knelt down and then he drifted along head up.

“We asked if he wanted help but got no reply – then he disappeared for the first time.”

Having been told by the emergency services to stay and try to keep watch, Mr Scott saw the man reappear but eventually he went underwater again.

He said: “He went under and we didn’t see him again.”

“I regret we didn’t arrive a few seconds earlier but I’m not sure what we could have done.”

On July 29, four days after he went into the Thames fully clothed, Mr Vincent’s body was recovered after members of the public reported a man lying motionless on the pier on the north side of the Thames.

He was due to start the new job at 11am on July 26, the day after his death, and his mother said he was looking forward to it after a successful trial shift.

Ms Burmis went to see her son at the Ye Olde Rose & Crown pub in Crooms Hill, Greenwich, where he worked on the night of his death.

She said: “If I had known anything I wouldn’t have left him. He hugged and kissed me goodbye and said ‘go home, mum, I’ll finish up’.

“He said ‘see you in an hour’.”

His ex-partner found a note Mr Vincent had left in his pocket which read: “I must apologise for the way I have acted.

“I wish you all the best. Nothing I do tonight is to be blamed on you. Don’t feel guilty.”

Senior Coroner Andrew Harris told the court the 119mg of alcohol found in Mr Vincent’s blood four days after he entered the water made it impossible for him to conclude Mr Vincent had the capacity to make the decision to kill himself.

The toxicology report also showed Mr Vincent had been taking antidepressants prescribed to him by doctors.

Coroner Harris deemed the note “cryptic” and not necessarily proof of an intention to commit suicide.

The coroner recorded an open verdict.