A 'MUCH-LOVED' and 'generous' newlywed tragically died after slipping off the decking of a water villa in the Maldives when jumping into the sea. 

Matthew Taylor, aged 34, slipped while recording a video and hit his forehead two days into his honeymoon on November 14, 2021. 

A public inquest held at Reading Coroner’s Court heard how the Remenham-based plumbing engineer fractured his neck and spine in the incident. 

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The cause of death was given after authorities in the Maldives initially declared Matthew had drowned, although a UK pathologist later found that this was not correct. 

In a moving tribute posted following his death, Matthew was described as “positive, charismatic and generous” and “loved by all who he met”.

The inquest heard how Matthew and his wife Anna arrived on the South Asian island on November 12, 2021, having married in July of that year. 

On November 14, the couple enjoyed cocktails on the beach before walking back to their water villa residence to get ready for dinner at 4 pm. 

As Anna went inside, Matthew opened the double doors to the water. She heard a splash and came back out minutes later to find her husband in the water. 

She jumped in to assist him after her villa neighbour noticed Matthew was not responsive. 

Reading Chronicle: File photo of water villasFile photo of water villas

He received CPR and medical attention from hotel staff after being carried out of the water before being taken to hospital via speedboat. 

Sadly, Matthew was pronounced dead around two hours after falling into the water. 

After looking at photos and videos on Matthew’s phone following his death, Anna discovered Matthew had set up the device’s camera to record himself entering the water.

The footage did not show the incident that led to Matthew’s death. 

A statement from Anna read: “I do not know how this happened. I think Matt walked along the edge of the decking as he had done before but he slipped and hit his head on the sea floor.”

Reading Coroner’s Court heard how Matthew was a competent swimmer and diver having grown up around the water. 

Alcohol was found in his system upon examination by a toxocologist but coroner Ian Wade QC said the amount discovered would not have meant he was drunk at the time of the incident. 

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Authorities in the Maldives concluded that Matthew died as a result of drowning. 

However, a UK-based pathologist found no features consistent with drowning. 

Instead, he found bruising to Matthew’s forehead, a fracture of his spine and disruption of his spinal cord. 

The cause of death given was a transverse fracture of the spine with disruption of the spinal cord. 

Summing up, Coroner Ian Wade said: “The balance of the evidence suggests Matt decided he would have a little extra time in the water and he appears to have set up his mobile phone so that he could record an action video of himself diving or having some fun. 

“What happened was out of his control. He didn’t dive into the water -- more likely he fell into the water and it would appear he entered it off the side of the deck rather than the end of the deck. 

“It is not entirely clear exactly what the mechanism was which caused Matt to receive a sharp blow to the forehead sufficient to cause a fracture of the neck. 

“He, in all probability, slipped and fell off the decking.

“There is no doubt this was an unintended, unexpected, left-field and out-of-the-blue event. 

“It was, in my view, an accident.”

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Mr Wade described the incident as ‘tragic’ and paid his sympathies to Matthew’s family. 

The inquest was held at Reading Coroner’s Court on Tuesday, June 7. 

A fundraiser set up to support Matthew’s family raised £16,000 in December 2021. 

The organiser of the fundraiser, Christopher Darch, paid tribute to Matthew.  

He said: “Anyone who knew Matt, knew him for the positive, charismatic, generous man that he was who had so much love for life.

“When Matt passed, he did with his heart full of love and hope, hope for the future and love for his family and friends.

“He was an amazing Husband, Son, Brother, Uncle and friend, who was loved by all who he met.”