Tragedy as boy, 13, plunges to his death through warehouse skylight as friends watch on

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A schoolboy died from horrific head injuries after falling through a moss covered skylight, an inquest at Exeter Coroner’s Court heard. Jethro Middleton, 13, was playing with two friends outside a warehouse on an industrial state in Okehampton, Devon, one afternoon in April 2022. The teenagers had been playing about in containers by the factory, known as the cheesecake.


However, they soon became bored and decided to climb a shed to access scaffolding which had been installed by builders to carry out roof repairs at the warehouse.

Jethro’s friends said they didn’t pay attention to the warning sign because it looked “scary and fun” to do.

While walking across the roof, Jethro trod on some plastic panels which were covered in moss.

The panels gave way under the weight of the 13-year-old, who fell to concrete factory floor below.

His friends said they saw him lying prone and unconscious on the floor.

The warehouse staff quickly contacted the emergency services, after being informed of the accident by Jethro’s friends.

A worker at the depot said the warehouse would normally have been packed with stock which might have stopped Jet’s fall into the concrete ground.

The young teenager tragically died of his injuries at hospital, where he was joined by his family.

A subsequent postmortem revealed that Jethro, a keen rugby player, died from an unsurvivable head injury.

The senior Devon coroner Philip Spinney said: “Whilst running across the roof area, a section of the roof broke and he fell through the roof to the concrete floor some 30-40 feet below.

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“Despite the efforts of police and paramedics he was pronounced deceased at the scene.”

The coroner recorded the death as accidental and called it “tragic”.

A Health and Safety investigation said work was being carried out on the fragile and leaking roof.