A POPULAR "lad's lad" who was found dead on the slipway to a Newquay beach this month may have been the victim of a tragic accident, his mother has said.
Jez Griffiths, 31, was on a stag do in the resort with friends when he went missing on the way back to their hotel at around 2am on Saturday, May 11.
Pauline Griffiths, 57, of Gosport in Hampshire, has paid tribute to her "fun-loving" son ahead of his funeral today, when hundreds are expected to pay their respects.
And she said his pals believe he had simply got lost and slid over on the cobbled slipway to Towan beach, "tragically hitting his head in the wrong place".
A group of friends placed flowers and cards at the spot where Jez died on Friday, and told a Cornish Guardian reporter he had been fine and speaking coherently before he disappeared.
Cornwall Council said the slipway was inspected regularly and "no defects" were spotted during the last inspection on April 18. It is now up to Cornwall's county coroner to ascertain how Jez died.
Mrs Griffiths said: "Nobody knows exactly what happened; they were all coming back to the hotel.
"They think he's gone the wrong way and he slipped on a little incline down to the beach and just tragically hit his head in the wrong place."
One of the stag group, best man Stewart Maneely, 33, said Jez had decided to call it a night and head back home.
"We were all shocked by what happened," he said. "The journey home was one of the worst in my life, as we all tried to comfort each other. Jez was always a joy to be around and a great friend."
Jez, who worked in recruitment and lived in Havant, Hampshire, is survived by his mother, his brother David, 29, who lives in Australia, and grandmother, Joyce Evans, 85.
He left for Australia in 2009 when the firm he worked for folded but returned after discussing coming back to the area with his mum.
Mrs Griffiths said: "He was fun-loving, he had a wicked sense of humour – he would take the mickey out of everyone but could take it as well.
"He was a lad's lad – he went out on stag nights, anything for fun.
'The weekend [he died] was awful but then when you think what he's done with his life then you've got to take the positives out of it.
"If I'd done as much as he had by his age ... it's just amazing.
"He's been all over the world and he had a huge number of friends he'd got through the various activities he's done over the years.
"He's been to Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Las Vegas, Magaluf, Ibiza and all round Australia."
Jez's death was the second fatality in Newquay in a fortnight.
A police investigation also continues into the death of local angler Mick Kearns, 48, who died outside Sailors Nightclub in the early hours of Saturday, April 27.
This paper reported on May 15 that some tourism and community leaders had said deaths at seaside resorts were "tragic but inevitable".