A coroner has raised concerns about the safety of mobility scooter users on a Suffolk promenade after a man died after driving off the edge and plummeting five feet onto the beach.

Nigel Parsley, senior coroner for Suffolk, has called on East Suffolk Council to take action to improve safety on Felixstowe promenade after John Gray suffered multiple rib fractures leading to breathing failure following the plunge in July 2022 in an area unprotected by barriers.

He was taken to Ipswich Hospital, but his condition continued to deteriorate and he died on July 13.

READ MORE: Ambulance wait 'contributed to Suffolk man's death' - coroner

An inquest held earlier this month recorded a verdict of accidental death after hearing that he had fallen asleep before the fall.

East Anglian Daily Times: Nigel Parsley, senior coroner for SuffolkNigel Parsley, senior coroner for Suffolk (Image: Archant)

During the inquest, evidence was provided that the height of the drop from the edge of the promenade could vary according to weather conditions which affected the height of the sand, though a system was in place to monitor this situation.

The inquest heard that in other high risk locations with persistent long drops or drops onto concrete or rock sea defences, barriers were installed for safety.

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In other areas, signage or painted markings were used to highlight the risk of a fall.

Other testimony stated that there was expected to be an increase in mobility scooters using Felixstowe promenade, while a mobility scooter supplier and engineer said users falling asleep was 'not uncommon' and led to accidents causing damage.

East Anglian Daily Times: Felixstowe seafrontFelixstowe seafront (Image: citizenside.com)

In his report, Mr Parsley said: "I am therefore concerned that falls from the promenade onto the beach, in areas where there is no barrier, would occur again in similar circumstances, as the current signage and markings provide no warning to an individual asleep on their mobility scooter. 

"If this were to occur (as in this case) in an area where the height of drop from the edge of 
the promenade to the sand was greater than normally expected, I am concerned this would 
lead to future loss of life."

He concluded by adding: "In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you or your organisation have the power to take any such action you identify."

A spokesperson for East Suffolk Council said: "We welcome the report from the Coroner, which we will respond to in full, and our thoughts are with those close to Mr Gray following this tragic accident.

"We continually review all risk assessments for land which the Council is responsible for, and we are identifying what further appropriate measures should be put in place to help ensure the safety of all users of the promenade."