A “loving, caring” 35-year-old from Chesham, whose body was found in water at The Rye by a member of the public, drowned, a coroner ruled today.

The body of Daniel Howard-Prince, from Broad Street, was recovered from The Dyke at the High Wycombe park on April 25 in front of shocked onlookers after the alarm was raised at 7.09am.

DC David Mitchell told Beaconsfield Coroner’s Court today that the eyewitness had been walking through the park when they spotted a maroon bag on the towpath – which had clothes, a phone charger and diaries containing song lyrics written by Mr Howard-Prince inside.

They then saw a body lying face down in the river and immediately alerted the police – who attended the scene with paramedics and the Bucks Fire and Rescue water rescue team.

Mr Howard-Prince was sadly pronounced dead at 7.34am.

A toxicology report found there was a “small amount” of cannabis in Mr Howard-Prince’s system, however there was no evidence of any other drugs or alcohol.

Pathologist at Wycombe Hospital, Dr Peter Johnson, added that there was no indication that Mr Howard- Prince was a regular user of cannabis at this time.

The court heard that Mr Howard-Prince had a history of mental health issues as well as drug and alcohol misuse.

He had been referred to the Bucks Early Intervention Service in May last year after being diagnosed with first episode psychosis and also received help from drugs and alcohol service SMART.

In a statement read out to the court, Mr Howard-Prince’s care coordinator, Carl Garcia, said the 35-year-old struggled to engage with mental health services – resulting in him being discharged in December last year.

Mr Howard-Prince’s family paid tribute to their loved-one in a joint statement, saying: “Daniel was a loving, caring good person. He loved his family and friends so much. He was in a good place in his life.”

Assistant coroner for Buckinghamshire, Anne Davies, recorded the cause of death as drowning.

She said: “If I was to make a finding of suicide I would have to show beyond reasonable doubt that Daniel had wanted and intended to take his own life.

“I have got no evidence whatsoever – there was a change of clothes in his bag, he was planning his life forward. There was no sign he wanted to take his own life.

“I think sadly this is an accidental death. We do not know why he went in to the water. We do not know if he went for a swim.”