Coroner criticises Scout Association after Stockport boy suffers serious injuries

The Scout Association is putting the lives of young people at risk, a coroner said as he discharged the jury in the inquest of a teenager who fell from a clifftop.

Ben Leonard, 16, from Stockport, suffered a serious head injury when he fell about 200ft (61m) at Great Orme in Llandudno while on a trip with the Reddish Explorer Scouts on August 26 2018.

On Friday, the fifth day of the inquest at Ruthin County Hall, assistant coroner for North Wales David Pojur discharged the jurors before they reached their conclusions.

He said the Scout Association failed to provide the court with the full information and "created a misleading impression".

Issuing a report to prevent future deaths, he said: "The lives of young people are being put at risk by the Scout Association's failure to recognise the inadequacies of their operational practice and the part this has played in the death of Ben."

Ben suffered serious head injuries in the fall. Credit: Family Photo

The court heard that Ben and two friends, Alex Jamieson, 15, and Christopher Gilbert, 16, had separated from the other Scouts and been unaccompanied by a leader when he fell from the cliff edge.

Mr Pojur said: "Each of the three leaders assumed the three boys were with one of the leaders when in fact they were not. They were on their own."

Ben had camped at Betws-y-Coed the night before his death and the group had been due to climb Snowdon but went to Llandudno instead because of the weather conditions.

Ben's mother, Jackie Leonard, told the inquest the teenager had received his GCSE results three days before his death and had enrolled to study film and television at a college in Media City, Salford.

She said: "He was a wonderful boy and a fantastic son and brother."

A second inquest, where the chief executive of the Scout Association is expected be called to give evidence, is due to take place on July 13