North West Wales

Uni professor's 250ft Snowdonia fall death 'accidental'

Tryfan and Prof David John Smith Image copyright Terry Hughes/Geograph/Bristol University
Image caption Prof David John Smith joined Bristol University in 1988

A university professor died after falling up to 75m off a mountain in Snowdonia, an inquest has heard.

David John Smith, 63, had been walking alone on Tryfan when he is thought to have slipped or tripped in bad weather.

An inquest in Ruthin, Denbighshire, heard the professor of engineering materials at Bristol University suffered major head and chest injuries in the fall, last November.

Coroner John Gittins recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

Prof Smith, a father of three, was an experienced walker and was well-equipped for the conditions, the inquest heard.

He told his wife Nuala on 13 November he was going walking and she was not concerned when he did not call again that evening.

'Well prepared'

Prof Smith was due to meet fellow members of a mountaineering club the next day, but due to bad weather, a few failed to show up.

When Mrs Smith learned on 15 November her husband had not met the group, she called the police.

His body was found by two climbers in an area known as Heather Terrace.

He was among boulders 100m (330ft) from the north gulley and had fallen 20-75m (65-246ft).

A post-mortem examination revealed he had suffered major head and thoracic injuries.

The coroner said: "He was wearing sensible, appropriate clothing and was very well prepared for what he enjoyed doing."

Prof Smith, who was raised on the Isle of Man, studied marine engineering at Newcastle University and later completed his PhD at London's Imperial College, before joining Bristol University.

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