Manchester Evening News

Instructio­ns ‘could have saved teen’s life’

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A TEENAGER’S life could have been saved if he had been given ‘basic’ instructio­ns by Scout leaders, an inquest heard.

Ben Leonard, 16, from Stockport, was on an organised expedition with the Reddish Explorer Scouts when he suffered a serious head injury after falling 200ft from cliffs on the Great Orme in North Wales.

Ben and two friends had separated from the other Scouts and were not accompanie­d by any of the three Scout leaders on the trip when he fell from the cliff edge at Llandudno.

Gareth Williams was the first of the leaders to give evidence at Ben’s inquest at Manchester Civil Justice Centre. Mr Williams, 26 at the time and an assistant Scout leader, told the hearing it was his first trip as a leader.

On the day of Ben’s death, he said he last saw the youngster with two other scouts in an area known as Happy Valley.

Sophie Cartwright KC, counsel to the inquest, asked him if any instructio­ns were given or guidance or parameters set before the walk up the Orme.

“Not that I can recall,” Mr Williams said, “I can’t recall having any concerns at all about the terrain.”

Bernard Richmond KC, representi­ng Ben’s family, said: “There was an absolute failure to demarcate safe and unsafe areas. It was the most basic of requiremen­ts, that you identify for these young people the boundaries between safe areas to walk and unsafe areas.”

Mr Williams replied: “Honestly, I, I felt that the hazard was selfeviden­t.”

Mr Richmond added: “Ben’s life would have been saved if somebody said to him, ‘This area has to be avoided, these routes are all safe.’ That’s all it would’ve taken?”

“I think so, I can’t know, but I think so,” Mr Williams said.

 ?? ?? Ben Leonard
Ben Leonard

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