Schoolboy, 13, plunged to his death through moss-covered skylight at warehouse as horrified friends watched on | The Sun01/21/2023
A SCHOOLBOY plunged to his death through a moss-covered skylight at a warehouse as his horrified friends watched on, an inquest heard.
Jethro Middleton, 13, was with two pals when they scaled the roof because "it was scary and it was fun".
But the roof tiles were fragile and covered in moss and Jet, as he was known, fell onto a concrete floor below.
The teen tragically died from unsurvivable head injuries as his heartbroken family rushed to be by his side.
An inquest at Exeter Coroner's Court heard that one afternoon in April 2022, Jet and his pals had accessed the roof of the warehouse on an industrial estate in Okehampton, Devon.
The senior Devon coroner Philip Spinney said: "Whilst running across the roof area, a section of the roof broke and he fell through the roof to the concrete floor some 30-40 feet below.
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"Despite the efforts of police and paramedics he was pronounced deceased at the scene."
The two pals, who cannot be named, said they were with a group of half a dozen youngsters.
The teens had been messing about in containers by the factory, known as the cheesecake, but were bored.
It was then that they climbed a shed to access scaffolding which was in place for roof repairs at the warehouse.
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The youngster saw people and trucks operating at the warehouse and walked back across the roof but Jet – who may have been looking at his phone – trod on plastic roof panels which were covered in moss.
The pal said you could not tell the difference between the panels and the roof because of the moss.
As Jet ran along the skylight he fell – the second boy said he heard a "crack".
The two boys who had been with him looked through the gap – with one nearly falling himself – and saw Jet prone on the ground.
The teen said they did see warning signs after the incident but would not have paid attention to them – with one of the boys saying: "We just did it because it was scary and it was fun."
The other youngsters raised the alarm at the company and staff quickly contacted emergency services.
A worker at the transport and distribution depot said the warehouse would normally have been packed with stock which might have stopped Jet's fall into the concrete ground.
A post-mortem revealed Jet, who was a keen rugby player for Okehampton RFC, died from an unsurvivable head injury.
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A Health and Safety investigation said work was being carried out on the fragile and leaking roof and the boys gained access via a shed to the scaffolding which led to the top of the large warehouse.
The coroner recorded the death as accidental and called it "tragic".
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