The death of a man from Radlett who drowned off a beach in Cornwall back in 2020 was "obvious and foreseeable", an inquest has heard.

Paul Mullen was on holiday with his wife and children when he drowned off Church Cove in August 2020, after racing into the sea when his 14-year-old son got into difficulty.

The teenager was rescued by a helicopter but his father could not be saved.

A five-day inquest into his death, and the unrelated incidents that claimed the lives of Michael Pender and Jan Klempar earlier that year off Cornish beaches, concluded yesterday (Wednesday, January 31) with death by misadventure recorded in all three cases.

During the 2020 tourist season, just 17 of the 56 beaches normally lifeguarded in Cornwall were manned due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Andre Cox, senior coroner for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, criticised the government for not giving the Royal National Lifeboat Institution advance warning about when restrictions would be lifted.

The inquest was also told that seasonal lifeguards were not allowed to be furloughed, resulting in many finding other work, leaving many beaches dangerously short of safety.

"In my judgment the deaths were not due to any lack of effort on the part of the RNLI, on the contrary they moved mountains to have a service," said Mr Cox.

Mr Cox added that he would write to the government and to the UK COVID-19 inquiry to highlight issues raised during the inquest, in the hope that lessons can be learned.