Belfast Telegraph

Fall man's death 'unnecessary'

The death of a man who fell from a nightclub balcony was unnecessary and tragic, an inquest has heard.

Kevin McBride, 37, from the Ballycolman estate, Strabane, Co Tyrone, suffered catastrophic head injuries when he dropped 30ft on to the dance floor at Dicey Riley's bar in November 2012.

An inquest in Londonderry was told the former factory worker was at least two times over the legal drink drive limit and had been leaning over the safety railings waving and shouting at friends when he lost his balance.

Coroner Jim Kitson said: "It remains a grave tragedy for the McBride family to have lost a son in such unnecessary and tragic circumstances."

Mr McBride suffered bruising and lacerations associated with fractures of the skull.

He was treated at the scene, initially by an off-duty doctor, but had a cardiac arrest in the ambulance on his way to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry.

It is understood Mr McBride had been watching football with a friend at Dicey Riley's pub on Market Street, Strabane, earlier in the day.

He also visited another licensed premises in the town before returning to the disco.

The coroner said the circumstances in which Mr McBride lost his life were "all too apparent" and claimed it was "not overly surprising" he had lost his balance given that he had consumed "intoxicating alcohol".

"I have no doubt that Kevin was leaning out over the balcony and was interacting with friends when tragically Kevin overbalanced," Mr Kitson added.

The inquest had been part heard in June but was adjourned after new evidence from Strabane District Council was received.

This afternoon the court heard the balcony safety railing which measured 1130mm tall satisfied health and safety regulations.

Marie Gormley, a health and safety advisor from Strabane District Council, said: "There was no breach of health and safety legislation."

Ms Gormley said no formal action had been taken against Dicey Riley's which was considered by the PSNI to be a "low-risk" premises.

It had also been inspected by the council in June 2012 and no concerns were raised.

She also made recommendations to review the design of the safety railing and for staff to be given refresher training, but acknowledged that the council had no power to ensure they were carried out.

Dicey Riley's bar manager Christopher Henry, who had known Mr McBride for almost 30 years, said he had spoken to him at about 12.45am - just 15 minutes before the bar closed - and had not considered him too drunk.

Mr Henry said: "He wasn't stumbling about and I was able to have a pretty good conversation with him about the match the next day."

Other witnesses had perceived Mr McBride to be unsteady and intoxicated.

The inquest was told that none of the bar staff had been first-aid trained.

Also, there was also only one doorman on duty that night and he not been properly accredited by the statutory authority.

Mr Henry said practises at the pub had since been reviewed.

"After Kevin's death we re-evaluated everything. We got CCTV and SIA (Security Industry Authority) trained doorstaff."

Mr Kitson said it was not the remit of a coroner's court to establish liability.

He said: "This court is to establish facts. Regrettably these are all too apparent."

Afterwards, Mr McBride's mother, Patricia McBride, said her son had been kind, loving and considerate.

Choking back tears, she said: "He was the best in the world. He went out one night a week on a Saturday. He was a fanatic Liverpool supporter. I always called him the quiet man."

Mrs McBride revealed she had now lost all three children.

She added: "I had three wonderful children and God has taken them all."

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