Coroner called for safety improvements at Sheffield waterside one-and-a-half years before second man found dead at same spot

A coroner had called for safety improvements at Victoria Quays in Sheffield one-and-a-half years before a second man was found dead at the same location.

Monday, 11th September 2017, 3:54 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 4:00 pm
A coroner's report in March 2016 called for action to prevent future deaths

Alex Wilson's body was pulled from the canal basin in the city centre last month, two days after the 19-year-old had been reported missing following a night out.

In December 2015, Adam Miles, aged 20, drowned there following a work Christmas party at the nearby Hilton Hotel.

Alex Wilson

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It has now emerged that following Mr Miles' death, a coroner wrote to the Canal & River Trust and to the hotel calling for additional safety measures to prevent future deaths.

The trust, which is responsible for maintaining the quays, said some changes had been made in the wake of Mr Miles' death.

But campaigners - backed by Mr Wilson's family - believe it remains unsafe, and hundreds of people have signed two petitions demanding further action.

In March, 2016, David Urpeth, assistant coroner for South Yorkshire West, raised concerns about the lack of railings or other effective barriers segregating drinkers from the canal, and the absence of any means of escape for anyone falling into the water.

Adam Miles

In a 'section 28' report sent to the Hilton Hotel and to the Canal & River Trust, David Urpeth said he believed action should be taken to prevent future deaths.

Stephen Williamson, the trust's safety advisor, said: "Our charity was deeply saddened by the death of Adam Miles in December 2015.

"After reviewing the potential hazards and appropriate safety measures in place, the trust installed an additional life ring in response to concerns raised in the coroner's report.

"Escape ladders and railings were already in place around sections of the canal, along with bollards linked by chains demarking the edge of the water elsewhere.

Flowers at Victoria Quays in Sheffield

"Hosting a working marina with moorings at Victoria Quays, increasing the amount of fencing in this area was not appropriate because boaters require easy, regular access their boats - additional fencing in the area where boats moor would prevent this and could in turn cause potential hazards for these users."

Two petitions calling for new safety measures have more than 1,600 signatures between them.

Among those supporting the petitions is Mr Wilson's aunt Siobhan Macmanus, who said it was 'absolutely disgusting that this has been allowed to happen'.

Alex Wilson
Adam Miles
Flowers at Victoria Quays in Sheffield