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Teen footballer fell from nightclub roof after taking ecstasy, inquest hears

Kyle Doherty
Kyle Doherty

A teenage footballer fell to his death from a nightclub roof during New Year's Day celebrations, an inquest heard.

Kyle Doherty, 19, who played for Stenhousemuir FC's youth team, had taken ecstasy and cocaine and been in a club VIP booth with 16 others where they were given £1,000 worth of alcohol, Manchester Coroner's Court heard.

The 19-year-old had come down from his home in Scotland to celebrate New Year in Manchester city centre with two friends.

But in the early hours of New Year's Day he got onto the rooftop at Suede nightclub, probably by going through a fire exit and onto an outside staircase.

Mr Doherty had called a friend from the roof on his mobile phone and another friend, Lee Brown, had spotted him and told him to get down.

His body was found the next day after police were alerted by his friends when he did not return to the apartment they had rented.

A post-mortem examination concluded he died from multiple injuries.

Coroner Graham Jackson recorded a verdict of misadventure. No members of Mr Doherty's family or other witnesses were called to give evidence at today's inquest.

Mr Jackson read a series of statements from friends and officials at the hearing.

Kevin Doherty, the teenager's father, said in a statement on New Year's Eve he had dropped his son off at Johnstone train station for the trip south, accompanied by his friends Mr Brown and Darren Lamont.

They drank alcohol on the train but were, "happy but not drunk" when they arrived in Manchester.

They joined a VIP booth at Suede nightclub with 16 in the group and were given £1,000 worth of alcohol and left to serve themselves.

At some point Mr Doherty made his way to the roof space of the club. No-one knew how or why he went there, but the court heard a fire exit led to an outside staircase, giving access to the roof.

At 1.02am Mr Doherty called Hayley Gallagher. In a statement to police, Ms Gallagher said she could tell he was drunk and he said he was on the roof.

Lee Brown told police he recalls being on a metal staircase, but did not know how or why he got there.

When he saw Mr Doherty on the sloping roof, he said he was, "drunk but not stumbling" and was moving around. Mr Brown told him to get down.

Kiara Newman told police that around 1.30am on New Year's Day she was outside the club and heard a "strange, loud noise".

"A bang and then rustle and a male voice with a strange moan," she told police.

Mr Doherty's body was found around 10pm on New Year's Day, fully clothed and face down in an alcove, enclosed by four walls, outside the club.

A statement from Pc Nicholas Kershaw said he found the body in the rectangular enclosed area.

The court was not told any estimate of the distance Mr Doherty had fallen, but the Fire Service was called to recover the body as ladders were needed to access the area.

Piping from guttering was found near the body and "claw marks" were seen on the angle of the roof, directly above the body.

The medical cause of death was multiple injuries, with fractures to his neck, skull and ribs.

A post-mortem examination showed ecstasy and cocaine in Mr Doherty's body, suggesting "recreational use" in the hours before his death, and an alcohol level slightly below the drink-driving limit.

Concluding the inquest, Mr Jackson said: "Taking into account the alcohol and the festivities, even though alcohol and drugs probably did not directly cause death, nonetheless, I think they would have played a part in the actions of Mr Doherty, causing him to climb on the roof from where, in my opinion, he sadly fell."