A SCHOOLBOY plunged to his death through a moss-covered skylight at a warehouse as his horrified friends watched on, an inquest heard.
Jethro Middleton, 13, was with two pals when they scaled the roof because “it was scary and it was fun”.
The roof tiles, however, were fragile and moss-covered, and Jet, as he was known, fell onto a concrete floor below.
As his heartbroken family rushed to be by his side, the teen tragically died from unsurvivable head injuries.
An inquest at Exeter Coroner’s Court heard that Jet and his friends had accessed the roof of a warehouse on an industrial estate in Okehampton, Devon, one afternoon in April 2022.
“While running across the roof area, a section of the roof broke and he fell through the roof to the concrete floor some 30-40 feet below,” said senior Devon coroner Philip Spinney.
“Despite police and paramedics’ efforts, he was pronounced dead at the scene.”
The two friends, who did not want to be identified, said they were with a group of about a dozen kids.
The teenagers had been playing in containers near the factory known as the cheesecake, but they were bored.
They then climbed a shed to gain access to scaffolding that was in place for roof repairs at the warehouse.
The youngster saw people and trucks at the warehouse and walked back across the roof, but Jet – who may have been looking at his phone – walked on moss-covered plastic roof panels.
Because of the moss, the pal claimed that you couldn’t tell the difference between the panels and the roof.
Jet fell as he ran along the skylight, and the second boy said he heard a “crack” as he did.
The two boys who had been with him saw Jet prone on the ground through the gap, with one nearly falling himself.
The teen claimed they saw warning signs after the incident but ignored them, with one of the boys saying, “We just did it because it was scary and fun.”
The other kids alerted the company, and the staff quickly contacted emergency services.
According to a worker at the transport and distribution depot, the warehouse would normally be packed with stock, which could have prevented Jet’s fall into the concrete ground.
Jet, a keen rugby player for Okehampton RFC, died from an unsurvivable head injury, according to a post-mortem.
A Health and Safety investigation said work was being carried out on the fragile and leaking roof and the boys gained access via a shed to the scaffolding which led to the top of the large warehouse.
The coroner recorded the death as accidental and called it “tragic”.