Belfast Telegraph

Man drowned after boat seized up

A man drowned two weeks before his wedding after his boat seized up and capsized as he fished for whelks in Larne Lough, an inquest has heard.

Graeme Nixon, 29, disappeared into the water as he tried to cling on when the small vessel nosedived last spring.

A friend onboard managed to swim ashore and raise the alarm but the father-of-two was found dead two weeks later.

Neither of the fishermen had lifejackets because they could not afford them.

A service could have discovered the problem with an engine seal which prompted the seizure, an expert told Belfast Coroners Court.

Mr Nixon's mother Anne McAuley said afterwards: "Graeme was the kind of person that never did anything in small measure. If he was doing something it had to be on a grand scale, like the wedding and honeymoon. He had to have everything the very, very best and he was working as much as he could to make that happen."

Mr Nixon, from Blackthorn Green, Larne, Co Antrim, had suffered a nervous breakdown and received psychiatric advice. He previously worked in a bank but was unemployed. He smoked heavily and gambled but wanted to get back to work.

He was returning in his heavily laden boat from an expedition with John Kyle to gather whelks in May.

They had been especially busy as the victim wanted to pay for his stag event and planned a Christmas trip to New York with his fiancee Catriona Dobbin. He left two children, Ellie-Louise, four, and McKenzie, five.

His fiancee was given news of his disappearance during her hen party celebrations.

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