A UK man with a phobia of water was found dead in a swimming pool after his estranged wife butt-dialled him while flirting with another man, according to a report.
Gareth Rees, 49, was house-sitting for a millionaire pal in August when he got the errant call from Claire Rees as she held a “sexually suggestive” conversation with her new lover, The Sun reported, citing an inquest.
Despite his fear of water and not knowing how to swim, Gareth took a plunge into the pool outside the luxury home, whose owners were vacationing in France, according to the outlet.
When Claire realised that she was sharing her romantic talk with her horrified hubby, she raced to the house in Churt, Surrey, where she found his boozed-up, lifeless body in the water.
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During the inquest, she said what Gareth apparently heard “would not have been nice” as she flirted with her new beau, Glen Ryan, on a lunch date at a pub, The Sun reported.
“I feel really bad about it now but my friends and I had joked earlier because Gareth had texted me to say he was going for a dip in the pool,” she told the inquest.
“He cannot swim, he hated water, he had a phobia – we thought he was joking,” she said. “If the pocket dial had anything to do with his death, that is something I have to live with. I have had to make my peace with it.”
Pathologist Dr. Robert Chapman confirmed that Gareth had died from drowning after consuming an over-the-drunk-driving amount of alcohol at the time of his death.
Gareth reportedly suspected that Claire was romantically involved with someone else, leaving him “angry and upset.”
On the morning of his death, he had Googled the name “Glen Ryan” and searched for him on Facebook, according to the report.
Dr Karen Henderson, the assistant coroner, said she could not be certain that Gareth had intended to drown himself.
“It was clear he was upset that she was moving on, he had overheard remarks about him that were not complimentary and had the realisation that his marriage was not going to be recoverable,” she said.
“However, I have no evidence that there was an intention to end his life, he had no known history of mental health problems and no note was left,” Dr Henderson added.
Claire said that “Gareth was a lovely person, he was the best stepfather to my son. We had both drifted and it was my son that said he could not cope with the arguing.
“That was the nail in the coffin,” she added.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission