Man from Plymouth died stopping friend jumping from window

Thomas Bennett Image copyright Lesley Heard
Image caption Thomas Bennett fell from a window in Hawaii after trying to stop the teenager from jumping

A man fell to his death as he tried to stop a friend from jumping from a window, an inquest has heard.

Thomas Bennett, 24, originally from Plymouth, tried to save the life of a 19-year-old in Honolulu.

The teenager was on a 14th storey window ledge at the University of Hawaii from which both men fell, leaving Mr Bennett dead and his friend seriously injured.

A coroner in Plymouth has concluded he died accidentally.

The pair are believed to have been attending a party when the incident happened in the early hours of 16 August.

More on the inquest and other Devon and Cornwall stories

According to witnesses, they were holding on to a glass pane for support when it shattered, causing both of them to plummet to the ground.

Image copyright Google Earth
Image caption The two men were on the 14th floor when they fell

Mr Bennett was born in the UK but was brought up in the US, in Philadelphia, where he lived for 14 years.

Three years ago he moved to Hawaii, where he worked as a landscaper.

His funeral was held in Plymouth, where his mother still lives.

He is believed to have been attending the party of a friend, Ted Guillory, at the Hale Wainani dormitory on 16 August shortly before the start of the new university term.

'Under great pressure'

Coroner Ian Arrow called Mr Bennett a "brave and noble" man and recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Speaking after the inquest his mother said she had forgiven the 19-year-old whose attempt to jump led to the fall.

Lesley Heard, 51, from Plymouth, said: "We have messaged each other several times but I felt it was really important to tell him that I knew it was an accident, that he was under great pressure at the time and I didn't blame him."

Along with his mother Mr Bennett leaves behind his father Chris and siblings Annaliese, Emily, Ross and Isabelle.

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