Wales

Scout Ben Leonard 'fell to his death from 200ft cliff'

Ben Leonard Image copyright North Wales Police
Image caption Ben Leonard was described as "kind, caring, witty and wonderful" by his family

An eyewitness saw a scout fall to his death from a 200ft (60m) cliff while on a trip to north Wales, an inquest has heard.

Ben Leonard, 16, of Stockport, Greater Manchester, died at the Great Orme in Llandudno, Conwy, in August 2018.

Coroner David Pojur told the inquest Ben was a "scriptwriter and gifted performer".

The inquest, at Ruthin Coroner's Court, is expected to last four days and is taking place in front a jury.

Ben had plenty of walking experience and had achieved a gold award in scouting, the court heard.

The group of nine from Reddish Explorer Scout Group, aged between 14 and 18, had camped near Betws-y-Coed.

They were visiting Llandudno after they were forced to postpone climbing Snowdon due to poor weather.

Image caption Ben was walking on the Great Orme when he fell to his death

While in Llandudno, Ben and friends Chris Gilbert and Alex Jameson walked towards the Great Orme, unaccompanied by scout leaders, while another group went to a nearby ski centre.

"The three boys were exploring the top of the Orme when Ben decided to explore a possible route down to the road," said Mr Pojur, assistant coroner for north Wales east.

"Chris and Alex explained to him that it was dangerous but he was persistent.

"An eyewitness saw Ben edging along a narrow edge before climbing down to another ledge.

"Ben took another step before slipping and falling. He wasn't able to regain his footing nor hold on to anything and he fell onto a steep grass bank below.

"Paramedics tried to save him but he died from his injuries."

His mother Jackie Leonard broke down in tears as she told the coroner's court: "We just miss him."

She said the teenager received his GCSE results three days before his death and had enrolled to study film studies at a college in Media City, Salford.

In a statement, she said: "He was a wonderful boy and a fantastic son and brother."

Mr Pojur told the jury it would not be attributing blame but must consider how the trip was organised, the training of the scout leaders, communication and instructions to the boys and whether risk assessments were done.

The inquest continues.