Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bedford arcade meat thief's death ruled accidental

Glass roof of the Bedford shopping arcade
Image caption Dean McAulay died when he fell through a glass roof at a shopping arcade

A man who fell to his death through the glass roof of a shopping centre in Bedfordshire was being chased after stealing meat, an inquest has heard.

Dean McAuley, 25, from Winifred Road in Bedford, fell 45ft (14m) in a shopping arcade off Harpur Street, Bedford, on 24 July.

He had been chased from Marks and Spencer by a security guard who had seen him steal chicken and steak.

Coroner David Morris recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The inquest, held at Bedford Coroners' Court, heard from security guard Ravinder Singh who chased Mr McAuley when he saw him leave the store with £56.44 of meat he had not paid for.

'High' methadone levels

Mr Singh said: "I went up two flights of stairs after him. He was on the roof. I nearly slipped over. It looked unsafe."

Mr Singh said he stopped, but Mr McAuley carried on across the roof.

"He was so quick, he disappeared. It was a steep roof, it looked incredibly unsafe, so I did not follow him," he said.

The court heard Mr Singh was told several minutes later Mr McAuley had fallen through the roof.

Mr McAuley was taken to hospital, where he died of his injuries.

He had a high reading of methadone and was two-and-a-half times over the drink-drive limit, the court was told.

Mr Morris said Mr McAuley's mobility would have been significantly affected by the drink and drug levels in his body.

At a previous hearing the cause of death was given as head and chest injuries received in the fall.

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