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Free runner died after sticking his head out between train carriages

Nye Frankie Newman
Nye Frankie Newman

A popular free runner died when he suffered "catastrophic" head injuries after he stuck his head out between the carriages of a Paris Metro train to take a selfie with his phone, an inquest has heard.

Nye "Frankie" Newman, 17, from Aldershot, Hampshire, had travelled with his girlfriend, Nicole Tunnell, and a group of friends to the French capital to practise free running and for sight-seeing during the Christmas break.

The group were travelling to the Eiffel Tower to see the New Year's Eve fireworks when a French boy called Nino, 15, who they were staying with, undid the lock between the carriages with a skeleton key, the Basingstoke inquest heard.

Coroner Andrew Bradley said that Nye, whose full name was Aneuryn Francis Newman, climbed up between the carriages and was struck by an object when he popped his head up for a moment.

Friend Joel Alvey-Taylor said in a statement that the group had drunk vodka and orange drinks earlier but did not think Nye was drunk.

He said: "I saw Nye was messing about, I saw him going out of the carriageway, we were all telling him to get back down but he didn't.

"Nye must have just poked his head up to the top of the train for a second or so and something must have hit him.

"He fell to the metal poles that separate the carriages."

Mr Alvey-Taylor added: "My initial thought was Nye was dead, he wasn't moving, there was a lot of blood on his head and jacket. His eyes looked dead."

Nye's mother, Deborah Newman, said she had last communicated with her son earlier that day when she sent him a Facebook message saying: "I love you and be careful."

He replied that he was "having a great time".

She said that Miss Tunnell later called her and was hysterical as she told her that Nye had been hurt.

Mrs Newman travelled to Paris the next day to find Nye was being kept alive by a life support machine and doctors told her he would not survive.

She said: "The doctor said there was nothing we could do and he was going today and then switched off the machine."

Mrs Newman said she spent the next few hours with Nye's friends saying goodbye to him.

She said her son was employed as a coach for the sport of free running, which is running and acrobatics in an urban environment, and added: "Nye was extremely fit and healthy and trained every single day."

She said she had been told that Nye had been taking a "selfie or a video" when he was fatally injured.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Bradley said that Nye died of head injuries and added: "It's desperate, he died doing what he wanted to do, as difficult as it is, he was a happier boy for having done it."

His family said in a statement: "We are heartbroken by the loss of our beloved son, grandson, brother, cousin and nephew.

"Nye's was an extraordinary young life which touched so many."