A pensioner drowned in his garden pond after falling in as he looked at his pet fish.

John Worcester plunged into the water after a plank of wood he was standing on snapped.

The 77-year-old only fell into about 18inches of water but had such difficulty moving that he could not escape.

His body was discovered face up in the water by his wife, Denise Worcester, when she returned home from a trip to the shops at 6pm on November 1 last year.

An inquest at Chichester was told that Mr Worcester, a retired BT official, suffered from severe gout in both feet and used crutches.

It is believed Mr Worcester was having a cigarette in the garden of his home at Hillmead, Horsham, when he climbed on to the wooden structure above the pond.

West Sussex coroner Penelope Schofield recorded a verdict of a tragic accidental death.