Pontcysllte death report rejected

April 2017 - The tragic death of a teenager at the world heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct continues to trouble the Canal & River Trust and Allan Richards reports that the Coroner rejects C&RT's 'independent' report on the incident.

The North East Wales and Central Coroner, John Gittins has again adjourned an inquest into the death of 18-year-old Kris Mcdowell who fell to his death from Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in the early hours of May 31 last year when a railing he was holding onto gave way.

The inquest was opened in July 2016 but adjourned pending a full hearing. Last month the hearing was again adjourned when Mr Gittins rejected a, supposedly independent, report commissioned by C&RT for the inquest and agreed with the McDowell family’s request for a new independent report. He said he was also considering whether there should be a jury for the resumed inquest.

Solicitor, Helen Pooley, representing the family, told the inquest that there were concerns including inspection procedures at the aqueduct and its construction, particularly the section where the tragedy occurred and the upright Mr McDowell was holding onto at the time of the incident.

C&RT representatives, disagreed, claiming there was enough information in a report by the expert they had engaged for a conclusion to be reached.

C&RT already faces the possibility of a criminal prosecution by the Health & Safety Executive relating to the incident (C&RT threatened with criminal prosecution following Pontcysyllte death). Furthermore, The Floater has published pictures and a video showing an upright detached at the top some seven months after the death.

Rather belatedly, in February 2017, C&RT carried our three weeks of repair works to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct parapet closing it to pedestrians in daylight hours.

Photos: (1st) Kris Mcdowell, (2nd) Coroner John Gittens.

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