Drunk teen fell eight storeys to his death while partying

Dushan Saddlier Pouao died in a fall in July 2010. Photo / Facebook
Dushan Saddlier Pouao died in a fall in July 2010. Photo / Facebook

A drunk teenager fell eight storeys to his death while partying with friends, a coroner has found.

Dushan Saddlier Pouao, 18, known to his friends as `Possum' died on July 4, 2010 after falling from the Soho apartment complex in central Wellington.

A coroner's inquest to the death held at Wellington District Court this morning heard that a combination of excessive alcohol, peer pressure, and the lack of a barrier between the Soho apartment complex and an adjacent car park building resulted in Mr Pouao's death.

Detective Inspector Paul Basham told the court Mr Pouao was drinking with friends on the eighth floor of the Soho apartments that Saturday evening.

They spent the evening drinking beer, bourbon, RTDs and gin, and left the apartment twice to buy more alcohol.

Throughout the evening Mr Pouao and his friends climbed over a safety fence on the apartment balcony and jumped a 75cm gap to the adjacent Hope Gibbons car parking building, said Mr Basham.

As the night progressed, the party became steadily more intoxicated and bridging the eight-storey-high gap became increasingly dangerous.

Coroner Ian Smith highlighted that the transition from a one storey "quarter acre paradise'' in Porirua to a high density apartment complex in the Wellington CBD was a difficult move for young people.

The circumstances surrounding Mr Pouao's death are still unclear, but evidence suggests it was unintentional and nobody else was involved, said Mr Basham.

His fingerprints were found on the handrail of the balcony below, suggesting that he had either been climbing to the balcony above and slipped catching it on the way down or was climbing down to the balcony below.

His body was found near a ground floor fire exit with a blood alcohol level six times the youth legal limit.

There were no traces of illegal drugs in his system.

Soho apartment building manager Michael Shaw said the Soho apartment body corporate has since reviewed the incident and has employed two security guards to monitor "antisocial behaviour'' on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.

A harsher view has been taken on rowdy behaviour, with 15 residents evicted since the event, said Mr Shaw.

A security fence has been installed both on the Soho apartment complex and on the Hope gibbons car park, restricting access between the two buildings.

Coroner Smith has reserved his decision, describing the death as a "tragic accident''.

In 2008, Adam Douglas Marshall, 28, died in when he tried to jump into the Waitemata Harbour from an eighth-floor apartment on Princes Wharf at Auckland's Viaduct.

Friends said he had been confident of reaching the water, which would have meant a horizontal leap of at least five metres.

- APNZ

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