Man, 24, slid down bannister to his death at Derby County in front of girlfriend

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A man plunged to his death in front of his horrified fiancée following a Christmas party at Derby County’s stadium.

Jack Watson, 24, fell two floors at Pride Park after he lost his balance while trying to slide down a second-floor banister, an inquest has been told.

His fiancée Alexa Heacock and other onlookers were powerless to help as the design engineer fell down the stairwell shortly after midnight on November 30, 2019.

First aid was given and paramedics were called, but Jack’s head injury proved fatal, reported DerbyshireLive.

At the inquest at Derby Coroners' Court yesterday, Jack’s family paid tribute to him.

His mother, Jill, said: "I would like to say he wasn't just only our son – he was a real friend.

"He was kind-hearted, thoughtful, full of fun and he liked to have a laugh."

She went on: "He was really intelligent, he worked really hard with his degree. He had moved to Derby just six months earlier. He was happy and looking forward to whatever life would bring him.

"Jack and Alexa had been together since they were 16. We are heartbroken. You just wish you could turn the clock back."

The inquest was told that Jack had been at the iPro Stadium for the party held by his employer Expleo when the tragic incident took place.

Giving evidence, Alexa said they had intended to go out into Derby following the conclusion of the party, and they were leaving Igor’s Lounge when it happened.

She said Jack had been "between merry and drunk" when the party finished at about midnight.

"He decided it would be fun to slide down the banister. He went to slide down the banister on his bum to get to the bottom of the first landing," she said.

"But he tipped backwards and fell down the whole of the spiral staircase instead."

Alexa rushed to the bottom of the stairs to find him lying on the ground, and she called an ambulance.

A nurse who was at the same party gave first aid until the ambulance arrived, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The post-mortem exam showed he died of a head injury sustained in the fall, with a pathologist saying Jack would have been unconscious "almost instantly".

Tanyka Rawden, assistant coroner for Derby and Derbyshire, was told that there was no CCTV footage of the incident as it had not yet been installed in that part of the stadium.

Two security guards who were on duty at the time of the incident told the hearing they had been inside the suite urging guests to leave when the incident took place.

The inquest also heard that the railings were found to be structurally sound by an inspector from Derby City Council and they had not contributed to the incident.

Mrs Rawden recorded a conclusion of death by misadventure.

  • Inquests
  • Derby County FC

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