A MAN with a 'nomadic' lifestyle who drowned off the Portland coast was a strong and confident swimmer, an inquest heard.

Timothy Michael Collins, of no fixed address, was found by a skipper on a fishing vessel in the water off of Castletown, Portland on August 14 last year.

An inquest at Bournemouth Town Hall concluded that Mr Collins’ cause of death was drowning but that there was not enough evidence to determine the circumstances leading up to his death.

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Mr Collins, aged 43, was described as living a ‘nomadic lifestyle’ and the court heard that he was a ‘strong and confident’ swimmer.

A statement from Mr Collins’ father, Michael Collins, was read out to in the inquest.

His father described his son as an ‘enigma’ who moved around a lot and joined a movement occupying empty buildings, rarely staying in one place.

He said he was surprised to hear that his son had drowned as he was always a good swimmer and said that he felt that his death must have been some sort of accident.

Police officers attended the scene in August as Mr Collins was brought in by the Weymouth RNLI lifeboat crew. Solent Coastguard were also in attendance.

Detective Inspector Kate Lill was there when Mr Collins was brought into the harbourside by the RNLI boat.

She told the court that Mr Collins had a plastic bag tied around his waist containing his clothes and a pair of sunglasses and that his identity was confirmed through fingerprint analysis.

DI Lill said a search was undertaken to try and find any of his belongings along the coast in an attempt to establish where Mr Collins entered the water but nothing could be located.

She said there was no evidence that there was third party involvement or that he entered the water with the intention of taking his life.

The pathologist, Dr Robert Blahut said that the cause of Mr Collins’ death was drowning and said he had an undiagnosed heart condition but on the balance of probabilities it was impossible to say whether this was a contributing factor to his death.

Assistant coroner, Victoria Cook, summed up the inquest and said Mr Collins was a strong and confident swimmer who would frequently go into the sea to wash or swim.

The coroner concluded that his cause of death was drowning but that there was insufficient evidence available to explain why or how it had happened.

She said: “I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the family for the loss of Timothy.”