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Death of 19-Year-Old UK Law Student Ruled Accident
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Luke Johns

Summary: The death of a UK law student last year has been ruled an accident after it was determined he fell 9 floors after losing balance from a heavy night of partying.

A 19-year-old law student died after falling nine floors after a night out partying. The student, Luke Johns of Pontypridd in Wales, lost his balance and toppled over a stairway banister, falling nine floors. Johns had been out on a booze and drug-filled night, according to a Daily Mail report.


The student suffered several head injuries after the fall at his dormitory building. He had allegedly been drinking heavily, taken MDMA, and smoked cannabis. A security guard at the student halls in Plymouth, Devon saw the fall and rushed over to help Johns. Johns suffered catastrophic injuries that were fatal.

An investigation into the events of the night of February 18, 2017, determined that Johns started out at the student union bar with friends and then moved on to other pubs before returning to drink more at the communal area of his hall. Johns and his friends kept drinking and playing games in the communal area of Discovery Heights on Cobourg Street.

Johns became unwell and left the room. It was then that a security guard, Andrew Perry, witnessed Johns lean over the banister and fall to the bottom. Perry works for Unite Students, which owns the housing complex, and he was on patrol that night. He told investigators that he had been up to the ninth floor to deal with a candle that set off a smoke alarm sensor. He dealt with that issue and left the room when he heard a noise at the stairwell. He said, “I stood in the lift lobby waiting for the lift and I heard some very faint sound of somebody out of breath and an urging-type noise. I opened the door at the top of the stairs.”

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It was then that Perry saw the student “balance over the railings facing upwards” between the ninth and eighth floor. Perry said, “He fell over the railings. I ran down the stairs phoning 999 and put on my gloves.” Perry reached the teenager and administered CPR, doing “everything he could” to save the student.

Deputy Coroner Andrew Cox commended Perry for his efforts, stating, “Thank you very much indeed for what you tried to do for Luke that night. Lots of people wouldn’t be able to do that and you did do that.”

A post-mortem exam found that Johns died from multiple head injuries but also “suffered large cuts to his armpit and lower leg and compound fractures to his left tibia and fibula,” according to the Daily Mail. The toxicology results indicated he had about 2.5 times the legal limit of alcohol. The MDMA in his system was below the toxic range but likely still had an impact on his judgment, coordination, and balance.

Cox said, “The circumstances as we have heard is that Luke was doing what all students do – having a good time. I think what has happened to Luke, he’s gone out, had a good night out with his friends. He’s had a bit too much to drink and he’s taken drugs, which I cannot condone. I’m quite clear he didn’t intend to fall over and perhaps lost his balance because he’s under the influence. I think he may have staggered and lost his balance for whatever reason and he’s toppled over the banister and fallen to his death. This by all description is an accident. It is a horrible accident and an absolute tragedy.”

To you think those that supplied him with the drug should be held responsible? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about tragedies caused by drinking, read these articles:

Photo: via Media Wales


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