Scout who fell from cliffs could have been saved if given 'basic' instructions, inquest hears

A scout who died after falling from cliffs could have been saved if given "basic" instructions, an inquest has heard.

Ben Leonard, 16, from Stockport in Greater Manchester was on an organised expedition on the Great Orme in North Wales on 26 August 2018.

He became separated from the other Reddish Explorer Scouts, along with two of his friends.

The three boys were not accompanied by any of the three Scout leaders on the trip when Ben fell.

He suffered a serious head injury after falling 61m (200ft).

On the first day of the inquest, the Scout Association accepted responsibility for his death for the first time.

The inquest, now in its fourth week, heard evidence from Gareth Williams, the first of three Scout leaders on the trip.

The then 26-year-old who was an assistant Scout leader told the hearing at Manchester Civil Justice Centre it was his first trip and he had never met Ben previously.

Mr Williams told the inquest he last saw Ben in an area known as Happy Valley, on the way to the top of the Orme.

He was asked by the counsel to the inquest, Sophie Cartwright KC, whether any instructions were given before the walk.

"Not that I can recall," Mr Williams replied, before he added he could not recall "having any concerns at all about the terrain".

When it was suggested he had "lost" the boys, Mr Williams said scouts will not always be in sight on activities.

The inquest heard Mr Williams "could not even conceive the possibility they would not re-join the path".

"Honestly, I felt that the hazard was self-evident," he added.

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Bernard Richmond KC, representing Ben's family, said: "But it plainly wasn't was it?"

"No," Mr Williams replied, "I did not even anticipate they would go near cliffs."

Mr Richmond suggested Ben's life "would have been saved if somebody said to him, 'This area has to be avoided'".

"I think so, I can't know, but I think so," Mr Williams said.

The inquest continues.