Southsea window fall death: coroner rules tragedy an ‘accident’ after man tried to climb down drainpipe

Firefighters at the scene of the death in Outram Road, Southsea
Firefighters at the scene of the death in Outram Road, Southsea

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A DRUG addict plunged 20ft to his death after climbing out of a first-floor window while under the influence of heroin and cocaine.

Jamie Walker, 28, had moments before ‘scuffled’ with Ricky Wolstenholme, who held him in a headlock in a flat in Outram Road, Southsea, in the early hours.

The inquest was also told Mr Walker had taken a mixture of heroin and cocaine, commonly known as a ‘speedball.’

Watched through binoculars by Timothy Owens across the road, Mr Walker climbed out of the open window, paused for less than a minute when Mr Wolstenholme shut the window, and then tried to climb down a drainpipe.

But he fell, dropping out of sight behind a bush, only later being found in the well of the steps to the basement flat by resident Deborah Watts at 7.45am – four hours after Mr Owens was woken by music in Mr Wolstenholme’s flat.

Portsmouth Coroner’s Court heard that Mr Wolstenholme was arrested on suspicion of murder after initially telling PC Dean Gawthorpe he had been out drinking and crashed out, only to then tell the officer Mr Walker hit him and then jumped out the window.

The inquest yesterday heard that Mr Wolstenhome, 29, also messaged his own brother saying: ‘I’ve killed a person sort of, I think, help me.’

He also told a mutual friend, Saffron Guy, that Mr Walker ‘robbed’ him of cannabis and then ‘jumped’.

Detective Sergeant Nicola Turton said Crown Prosecution Service lawyers decided there was insufficient evidence to bring any charges over the August 30 death. Mr Wolstenholme was released with no further action.

Returning a conclusion of accidental death, coroner David Horsley said: ‘I believe that on the balance of probabilities Jamie has lost his footing, tried to climb down the drainpipe. The reason why he lost his footing are explained by that he had been involved in a fight that would have caused him to be disorientated, coupled with the speedball.’

There was nothing to suggest Mr Wolstenholme pushed Mr Walker.

Giving evidence at the inquest, pathologist Dr Basil Purdue said Mr Walker’s death was caused by an injury to his heart caused after his chest was struck by an object, consistent with a wall or railing, in the fall.

The inquest heard Mr Wolstenholme came out into the street when Mr Walker fell, but then went back inside to rearrange furniture.

A police car also passed in the street and Mr Wolstenholme came out again, then went in.

But Dr Purdue told the inquest Mr Walker would have died shortly after the fall and it was ‘highly unlikely that treatment could have been brought to beat to save Mr Walker’s life’.

The deceased had been living in a hostel in Chichester before staying in the flat.