AN elderly man drowned in his pond at his village home near Wellington while using a ride-on mower to cut the grass on his lawn.

Michael John Gallagher, aged 76, who was married and lived in Holcombe Rogus, was a retired civil engineer and formerly a director of a number of plant hire, haulage, and property management companies.

The most recent had been CB Plant Hire Ltd, which went into liquidation in 2018 with debts of more than £1.672 million.

Devon Coroner Philip Spinney opened inquest proceedings in County Hall, Exeter, into Mr Gallagher’s death and was told he had been mowing the lawn at his home using the ride-on mower.

Mr Spinney heard how Mr Gallagher was found unresponsive in a pond, and his cause of death was given as drowning.

The tragedy happened on March 22 this year.

The hearing was adjourned for a full inquest to be held on a later date.