Kiwi banker fell to his death after letting off fireworks on roof terrace

By Mark Duell

Clark Boustridge had only married his fiancee Sally Coleman last March. Photo / Supplied
Clark Boustridge had only married his fiancee Sally Coleman last March. Photo / Supplied

A Kiwi banker who fell to his death through a glass conservatory roof in London after letting off fireworks had 309mg of alcohol in his blood and traces of cocaine in his system, an inquest has heard.

Lloyds investment banker Clark Boustridge, 30, had climbed onto a roof terrace in Crouch Hill, north London, and went over a low concrete wall while the fireworks exploded.

He then tripped and fell through the next door property's conservatory, although his friends Jacob Kerkin and Sam Gunson managed to climb back to safety. He suffered a skull fracture and severe neck injuries that killed him instantly last December.

Mr Boustridge, who grew up in Greymouth, was the son of Ian Boustridge, a jade sculptor who helped design the suit worn by Prime Minister John Key to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding in 2011.

He had moved from New Zealand to London in 2010 to pursue his career in finance and had worked for Barclays, Credit Suisse and Capco before joining Lloyds five months before his death.

He had only married his fiancee Sally Coleman last March in Auckland.

A hearing at London's St Pancras Coroner's Court was told that paramedics tried to revive him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene and his death was said by police to be "non-suspicious".

A toxicology report found he had 309mg of alcohol in his blood, plus traces of cocaine, but friends said he showed no signs of being drunk. The legal drink-drive limit in the UK is 80mg per 100ml of blood.

Clark Boustridge and Sally Coleman. Photo / Supplied
Clark Boustridge and Sally Coleman. Photo / Supplied

Mr Kerkin, whose roof the trio climbed onto, said they had been drinking at a friend's party on the Friday night and then went back to another friend's house that was next door to his home.

He told the inquest: "There was about 12 to 15 people there. The roof terrace to my property can only be accessed through a skylight or sash window. There's no official access.

"We had been drinking, but in my view... I don't think he was significantly intoxicated. It was a usual Friday night and his mood was consistent with just having some beers after work.

Mr Kerkin added: "I brought up two fireworks and someone constructed a launch so they could be launched safely. We discussed the safest way to let them off.

"We thought about going down the spiral staircase but decided that might be a bit dangerous. Clark had already climbed over the wall onto the area above my living room.

"We decided that was the safest option to stand while the fireworks went off, so Sam and I stepped over the wall too. Then Sam and I went back over after the fireworks went off.

"A friend came up the spiral staircase and we greeted him and exchanged high fives as we were quite pleased with how the fireworks went off."

Trip hazard

When Mr Kerkin looked back to where the fireworks had gone off, he did not see what happened to Mr Boustridge.

He said: "From speaking to others I understand he had gone to climb over the wall to the roof terrace balcony, but had slipped and tripped. He fell into the basement flat below where I live.

"Three of us ran down to the ground and were trying to get in the conservatory. Others called the ambulance and when they arrived they advised us to stay away from the area."

Coroner Richard Brittain asked whether a cable near the edge of the roof could cause a tripping hazard. Mr Kerkin replied: "It could be a trip hazard - it's a possibility he could have got his foot caught, but I don't know."

Mr Gunson, who also climbed over the roof terrace, told the hearing: "Clark wasn't intoxicated. He was happy and jovial, but had no physical effects of drinking.

"After the fireworks I think I heard a noise. I turned back and he wasn't there, but I can't be sure what happened.

"We tried to get through the neighbouring school to get access to where he had fallen, but there was another fence between the school and the garden so could not get through."

Recording a verdict of accidental death, the coroner said: "The edge of the terrace is not secure or protected and, because there is perhaps a tripping hazard, it is clear Clark fell from the roof and it was not intentional.

"From what I have heard I don't consider this an alcohol-related death as he was not significantly intoxicated and it did not play a significant role in his death. Alcohol doesn't seem to have contributed to his death. It seems to me accidental death is the most obvious conclusion to reach.

"As there is no official access to the roof I see no need to write to the landlord to advice any action be taken. I send my condolences to the family at this sad time."

Family's grief

A spokesman for the Boustridge family said: "This was a tragic accident which claimed a fine young man before his time.

"His friends and family are still mourning his loss and continue to do all they can to honour the memory of this wonderful husband, son, brother and dear friend.

"Clark will be remembered as a family man, whose wit and grin produced endless laughter and happiness for all who knew him.

"The family once again thank all those who have showed kindness over these hard few months and ask that their privacy is respected as they continue to grieve."

- Daily Mail

- Daily Mail

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