Open verdict on boy's cliff fall in Newquay


An open verdict has been recorded into the death of a teenager who was killed falling from cliffs in Newquay.

Paddy Higgins, of Winnersh, Berkshire, died on 6 July 2009 after falling down cliffs above Tolcarne Beach.

The 16-year-old had been with friends and was celebrating the end of his GCSEs. Tests showed he was three times over the legal drink-drive limit.

Coroner Emma Carlyon said it was not clear why he was on the cliffs but that it was possible he was climbing them.

Paddy died from massive multiple injuries, including a fractured skull and compression injuries to his chest. He also suffered a broken leg in the fall.

The inquest in Truro heard evidence from police which said it was now believed that Paddy had taken a short-cut across the beach and was trying to climb the cliffs when he fell.

Previously investigators suspected that he had fallen from the top of them.

The inquest also heard that the 16-year-old was with a group of young people who were able to buy beer and spirits at an Indian restaurant in the resort.

His father, mother and two sisters were at the inquest.

After the ruling, his father, John Higgins, said: "We are still extremely proud of our son. We want him to be remembered as a good boy.

"He made a couple of a mistakes, but we don't want him to be remembered for just the fact that he had drunk too much."

The coroner heard that several initiatives had since been launched in the town to prevent any similar incidents.

They included the formation of the Newquay Safe Partnership, which has brought together local councils, emergency services and tourism bosses to help promote safety.

A police operation had also been in force for several weeks in which officers had been confiscating alcohol from young people if they arrived in the town by plane or train, it heard.

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