THE wife of a man who died after diving into the river Avon urged him not to go into the water, an inquest was told.

Carl Schmidt was walking along the riverside at Hampton, Evesham, with wife Jacqui and two of their friends shortly before 7pm on Sunday, May 27.

Mrs Schmidt told Worcestershire coroner Geraint Williams that her husband, aged 47, decided he was going to go for a swim in the river, as he did “all the time” at their home near Pershore.

But, as there were other people about, Mrs Schmidt tried to stop him.

“I didn’t think it was right for him to be stripping down to his underwear,” she said. “He was 47 and not exactly what you would call the ‘body gorgeous’. But he was determined and said they could just not watch him.”

She said that he was also warned of a shallow ridge as he was about to dive in, but assured them he would dive over it.

Mrs Schmidt saw him hit his head as he entered the water and jumped straight in after him. Paramedics managed to resuscitate him and took him to Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, but he died on the morning of Tuesday, May 29, having never regained consciousness.

Mrs Schmidt described what happened as a “horrific accident” but said she was glad her husband had not suffered.

“I’m also very grateful for the fact that I was with Carl the whole time,” she said. “The staff at hospital were brilliant, they let me get on to the bed with him while he was in intensive care and I was able to cuddle him.”

She paid tribute to the emergency services for their efforts, in particular the police officers who took her to the hospital and then stayed with her, and E Hill and Son funeral directors, Pershore, for their sensitivity.

“I also want to thank all the family and friends who have been absolutely amazing over the last few weeks. They have been my rock and my strength,” she said.

She said Mr Schmidt, a sales executive with Gordon Rhodes and Son, was a “larger than life” character whose loss had left a big hole in her life and those of many others. The couple would have celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary next Saturday.

“We went through an awful lot together. He was a fantastic husband who really looked after me,” she said.

Mr Williams ruled that Mr Schmidt died as a result of the head injuries he suffered when diving into the river and delivered a verdict of accidental death.