Parachutist 'died after cliff plunge'

THE father of an extreme parachuting enthusiast who plunged to his death on a holiday in Thailand has said he believes his son's death may not have been a “straight-forward accident”.

THE father of an extreme parachuting enthusiast who plunged to his death on a holiday in Thailand has said he believes his son's death may not have been a “straight-forward accident”.

Essex Coroner's Court heard yesterday how optician Neil Queminet was enjoying a BASE jumping holiday with his friends and girlfriend when disaster struck.

BASE jumping is a high-risk sport in which parachuters launch themselves from the likes of towers, bridges and cliffs.

The experienced 38-year-old jumper, of South Street, Colchester, was climbing a mountain in the Krabi province when he slipped and fell 25-feet to the ground below.


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A Thai police investigation concluded Mr Queminet, who had worked as an optician in Sudbury, died as the result of an accident.

But Mr Queminet's father, Robert, told the inquest in Chelmsford he could not understand why there were four days of video footage missing from his son's camera.

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Asked by Essex coroner, Caroline Beasley-Murray, to explain why he was concerned about events in October 2004, he said: “I am suggesting it may not have been a straight-forward accident.

“What are you suggesting to the court?” said Mrs Beasley-Murray.

“I am not quite sure - until we have more evidence to indicate what it might have been,” he said.

“My main concern was that there were no statements taken by the police at the time of the death from material witnesses.”

“Are you suggesting that someone pushed your son?” he was asked.

“I don't know,” he replied, saying if he had more evidence he would have put it before the court.

Mr Queminet's girlfriend, Hayley Pilling, told the inquest her partner had done BASE jumping all over the world.

She said Mr Queminet had already done jumps during the first six days of their stay and was “absolutely fine” on the night before his death.

She said he had been in contact with a local climber and BASE jumper to arrange guidance on the day and last saw her boyfriend as he left on the morning of his death.

She was then contacted at their hotel to be told there had been an accident as Mr Queminet was trying to climb up the cliffs and he had died.

No evidence was heard from witnesses to the accident although Miss Pilling said she had been shown video footage from the ill-fated expedition.

A post-mortem showed Mr Queminet had suffered a skull fracture and brain injuries from the fall.

Mrs Beasley-Murray, who said she had seen various documents from the Thai authorities, recorded an open verdict.

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