Peter John Robinson, aged 28, slipped whil' />

By CATHY ARONSON

A Reefton man died after he fell on ice and drowned in his cat's water bowl.

Peter John Robinson, aged 28, slipped while walking down his back door ramp to feed his cat, Piper.

His mother, Gill Robinson, found him lying unconscious, facedown in 4cm of water in the plastic cat bowl.

A Westport inquest by coroner Peter Roselli found that Mr Robinson drowned after a significant head injury on July 5.

Mrs Robinson said the ramp was covered in about 3cm of ice after a week of hoar frosts.

She had left the house for only 15 minutes when the tragedy happened.

She believes her son went to feed the cat, slipped, hit his head on the concrete ramp and fell into the pet bowl full of water, which was deep enough for him to breathe the water into his lungs.



Piper was given to Mr Robinson as a kitten nine months earlier when he moved to his family home after he became bed-ridden with back pain.

A curve in his spine had forced him to give up coaching swimming lessons and cut short his dreams of becoming a primary school teacher.

He had been away from his Reefton home for seven years while he completed a bachelor of arts degree and a masters degree in political science at Canterbury University.

Mrs Robinson said the curve in his spine affected his balance and the medication for the pain made it worse.

Her son died two weeks before he was due to have his spine fused by a specialist.

He had had balance problems since he was born without an ear, a rare problem that affects only about one in a thousand babies.

An artificial ear was fitted when he was 5 years old.