Middlesbrough's James Smith fell to death from Thai hotel
- 13 November 2012
- From the section Tees
An "adrenalin junkie" who climbed landmarks like the Angel of the North, died in an accidental fall from a Thai hotel, a coroner has ruled.
James Smith, 30, from Middlesbrough, was about to start work in Vietnam when he fell to his death from the hotel in Bangkok in August 2010.
Initial investigations suggested he killed himself, but Teesside coroner Tony Eastwood ruled this out.
Mr Eastwood recorded a verdict of accidental death.
A post-mortem examination carried out in the UK showed Mr Smith suffered a hand injury, indicating he had tried to grab the side of the hotel building as he fell.
The court heard he was an experienced rope user, caver and climber who loved "urban exploring" - gaining access to unusual and sometimes derelict buildings and recording them for posterity.
Mr Eastwood said: "Mr Smith was someone who lived life to the full in that he worked hard, often abroad and used the monies to engage in his passion for travelling and learning about the cultures of foreign civilisations."
He was an accomplished climber, Mr Eastwood told the court, and had scaled large pieces of public art like the Angel of the North in Gateshead and the Temenos sculpture in Middlesbrough, as well as the exterior of a Manchester hotel.
Mr Eastwood said the family will never know if Mr Smith simply tripped while on the hotel roof or if he fell while climbing.
Mr Smith's father John, said: "He was an adrenalin junkie. We didn't always agree with what he did, but that was his life."
After the hearing Mr Smith's mother said: "He was a wonderful person and a wonderful son.
"I am proud of the effect he had on other people, even now."