Open verdict after man fell 300ft to his death

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A special effects expert fell 300ft to his death from cliffs after going for a quiet walk to figure out a problem.

Granville Mark Haddenham was working on the remake of Dracula at the time at Warner Bros’ Leavesden Studios.

An inquest heard the father of four had only got home to Buckton, near Bridlington, on Saturday night, and going out for a walk to think things through was not unusual. Police and the coastguard were called after a report of a man seen floating face down close to the bottom of Bempton Cliffs on the morning of Sunday May 25. The 52-year-old’s body was recovered by Flamborough Lifeboat.

His widow Jacqueline said her husband may have been distracted. She said: “He was a very creative thinker and I think if anything he would have been distracted by working this particular problem out.”

Asked by Hull and East Riding coroner Rosemary Baxter whether she thought he may have slipped, she replied: “Yes”.

The court was told that the “highly regarded” freelance special effects technician had worked in the industry for 25 years and was involved in the making of high-profile TV productions and numerous blockbusters worldwide. PC Andrew Redshaw said they had found nothing suspicious. There was a waist-high fence round the perimeter of the area but it was “easily accessible.”

Mrs Baxter recorded an open verdict, adding: “I can find no evidence that this was what the deceased intended. He did not appear depressed. He had a lot to live for. He had no financial worries and there was no note or other writing indicating his intentions. He regularly went out on his own to think things through in places where he could be quiet. But what then happened to him was unknown.”

Watch manager at Humber Coastguard Mike Green said instances of people falling over the cliffs were very unusual. He said people should be aware of the dangers, adding: “Stay away from the cliff edge, keep dogs on leads.”