Teenager who 'loved climbing' died after 20ft fall through roof of disused factory, inquest hears

By Louise Roseingrave

A 19-year-old man sustained catastrophic head injuries after falling six metres through a roof onto a concrete surface.

A verdict of death by misadventure was returned at the inquest of Craig Hanlon McKeon (aged 19) a fishmonger from Basin Street flats in Dublin 8.

The young man who loved climbing fell through a roof tile at a former steelworks factory at St James’s Street in Dublin on January 4, 2016. He died in hospital the following day.

“Craig had everything going for him, his job, his girlfriend, his whole life ahead of him. He was so kind and generous and so loved by everyone. It’s been a devastating loss,” his mother Fiona McKeon said at the conclusion of the inquest.

At a resumed hearing into the death at Dublin Coroner's Court, Manager of James' Street Steel, Sean Kavanagh said the buildings were leased to the Health Service Executive for use as a car park for staff at St James’s Hospital.

Craig Hanlon McKeon.

The site is made up of three buildings between 20 and 40 years old, with roof structures made of corrugated steel and asbestos tile.

Mr Kavanagh said the company was responsible for the buildings and monthly checks were made at the site. The section of roof where the young man fell has since been repaired, Mr Kavanagh said.

The inquest previously heard evidence from the teenager’s friend Conor Fitzgerald, who said the pair "just loved climbing". They had gone "on a ramble" after meeting earlier that day, he said.

“We were bored. We decided to climb up on the roof. We both liked climbing and we wanted to see what was up there,” Conor said.

They had climbed onto the steelwork's roof two or three times previously, gaining access through an apartment block nearby. Craig was walking about two feet behind Conor when he fell, the court heard.

“I heard a crack and a breaking noise and I looked back and Craig was gone... I don’t know what Craig stood on. I don’t think he tripped. He just fell straight down,” Conor said.

He immediately raised the alarm and gardaí arrived at 4.40pm. Dublin Fire Brigade arrived two minutes later. Craig was rushed to St James’s Hospital.

He had sustained multiple skull fractures in the fall. He died of his injuries the following day, January 5, 2016. The cause of death was massive head injuries due to a fall from a height, according to an autopsy.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane returned a verdict of misadventure and commended the family’s ‘generous’ decision to donate the young man’s organs.


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