Helen Pooley represents family of 18 year old who fell 120 feet to his death off Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

7 Mar, 2019

Kris McDowell was on his way home in the early hours of 31 May 2016. As he walked across the aqueduct, he passed through the gap between the parapet railings to walk on the non-pedestrian side. Very shortly after doing so, the upright which Kris was holding onto became detached from the handrail - he fell 120 feet to his death.

Helen Pooley represented the family at the two-day jury inquest in Ruthin, Denbighshire. The jury heard evidence from Kris’ friends that were with him on the night in question as well as numerous employees of the Canal and River Trust - the body responsible for maintaining the Aqueduct. Inspection and maintenance procedures were scrutinised and expert engineering evidence provided some insight on the cause of the upright becoming detached in the way it did.

The jury recorded a conclusion of death by misadventure. The Coroner indicated he would be making a Prevention of Future Death Report - he considered the evidence he had heard had led him to be concerned that circumstances creating a risk of death will continue to exist in the future and action should be taken to prevent the occurrence or continuation of such circumstances or to eliminate or reduce the risk of death. The Coroner emphasised that the Aqueduct remains a safe structure for normal use.

Helen Pooley was instructed by Tracey Benson from Slater and Gordon.

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