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Coroner calls for new Orwell Bridge safety measures in wake of ‘misadventure’ verdict at Archie Hall’s inquest

PUBLISHED: 08:00 08 April 2016 | UPDATED: 14:58 08 April 2016

Archie Hall

Archie Hall

Archant

Archie Hall’s death was the unintended consequence of an intended action, a coroner ruled yesterday.

At the 20-year-old student’s inquest at IP City Centre in Ipswich, assistant coroner for Suffolk Nigel Parsley said he could not conclude Mr Hall’s death was suicide.

He instead recorded a verdict of misadventure but added he was so concerned about fatalities from the bridge he would use his power as a coroner to encourage the relevant authorities to take action.

“It is my intention to write to the chief coroner under rule 28 of the Coroner’s (Investigations) Regulations a report of action to prevent future deaths,” Mr Parsley said.

“There are a number of incidents where individuals have fallen from the Orwell Bridge and I am aware, having viewed the bridge myself, there is nothing that would provide any hesitation to anyone who found themselves in Archie’s position.

“I will be making a report to the authorities in relation to my concerns.”

During the inquest a statement from Mr Hall’s step-father, Chris Sharman, was read out detailing how he had found the 20-year-old on November 24 last year.

It said he found Mr Hall’s mother’s car, which he had driven from his home in Holbrook, parked beside The Strand near the Orwell Bridge, and had gone to search for him around 8.30pm

“I kept looking over the side of the bridge. I had a fear Archie had done something stupid,” the statement said.

When Mr Sharman found Mr Hall’s body near the parked cars he called 999 and carried out CPR, later being relieved by a paramedic until Archie was pronounced dead at 9.10pm.

The student, at university in Lincoln, had come home that day because of continuing fears over his mental health, a statement from his mother Laura Hall said.

Similar problems had forced Mr Hall to cut short his time at his previous university, in Exeter, and he had received some help for mental health problems both in Suffolk and in Lincoln, where he was seen at a crisis centre on November 23.

However Ms Hall’s statement added: “At no point in the last few years had we ever thought Archie was feeling suicidal.”

When found beneath the bridge Mr Hall’s body displayed some grazes on his arms and hands, which Mr Parsley said may indicate he had had second thoughts about his actions and come into contact with the bridge.

A conclusion of death by misadventure was recorded because Mr Parsley said he could not be certain Mr Hall had intended his actions would result in his death.

Archie’s father is Josh Hall, the former round-the-world sailor.

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