Leeds boy, 14, fell to death through roof while playing tig at derelict building

THE family of a 14-year-old Leeds boy who fell 40ft to his death through the roof of a former industrial unit have urged parents to warn their children of the dangers of derelict buildings.

Myles 'Mylo' Johnstone. Image: Facebook/Guzelian
Myles 'Mylo' Johnstone. Image: Facebook/Guzelian

An inquest at Wakefield heard Myles Johnstone, of Bramley, was one of around ten boys aged between nine and 16 who were trespassing on a former industrial site at Wyther Lane at Canal Wharf, Kirkstall, when the tragedy happened on July 6 2017.

The inquest heard Leeds West Academy student Myles - known as Mylo to his family - fell through a fragile part of the roof of a former industrial unit while playing a game of tig.

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A post mortem revealed that Myles, who was pronounced dead at the scene, had suffered fatal head and abdominal injuries.

Recording a verdict of death by misadventure, senior coroner Kevin McLoughlin, said: "Mylo clearly didn't intend to harm himself, he was just having fun."

Mr McLoughlin added: "This is an immensely sad case. We have young lads trespassing on a disused industrial site. some playing a game of tig, some perhaps engaging in petty vandalism.

"Some boys climb on to the roof, which includes fragile roof lights. Adults would be expected to register immediately that would incorporate a hazard.

"A young lad intent on larking about was oblivious to the risk. We have the tragedy that Mylo fell through a fragile part of he roof and sustained fatal injuries."

The inquest was told the site was secured with gates and high fencing but that children had managed to gain entry.

After the inquest hearing Mylo's uncle Duncan Johnstone of Bramley, said: "The family would urge parents to be aware of derelict properties in the areas where they live and ensure that children are warned about the dangers. We don't want anyone else to go through this heartbreak."

Richard Murray, director of Landmark Estates, which owns the site, told the inquest that housing is planned on the site and that the last tenant moved out of the industrial units in around January 2016

The inquest heard the site had been empty for around 17 months when the tragedy happened.

Mr Murray said he had visited the site on nine occasions between July 2016 and July 2017 to check that it was secure and was not aware that children had been gaining access.

The inquest was told the industrial units have now been demolished ahead of housing being built on the site.

Mr McLoughlin asked Mr Murray if it would have been possible to demolish the buildings at an earlier stage.

Mr Murray replied: "Unfortunately not until you have agreed everything with Leeds City Council. You have to satisfy various requirements before you are able to demolish a building.

Mr Murray added: "Bureaucracy seemed to hold up the process."

Mr McLoughlin asked: "You need permission to demolish?"

Mr Murray replied: "Absolutely. Otherwise we would have demolished the buildings and mitigated the business rates which we had been continuing to pay."

Detective Constable Lee Swift said all the boys aged from nine to around 16 that had been at the scene were traced and interviewed.

Det Cons Swift said the boys said they had been playing a game of tig, adding: "During that some of the boys decided to go on the roof to avoid being caught as part of the game."