Popular Sheffield teenager fell to death while spray-painting graffiti, inquest hears

Sidney Street, Sheffield
Sidney Street, Sheffield

A popular teenager fell to his death through a factory roof while spray-painting graffiti, an inquest heard.

Oliver Crowther, aged 18, was found dead inside Arundel Joinery, Sidney Street, when staff arrived at work on May 14. An inquest at Sheffield Coroner’s Court heard yesterday that Oliver died instantly from head injuries sustained during the fall.

Graffiti following the death of Oliver Crowther

Graffiti following the death of Oliver Crowther

Oliver, of Northcote Avenue, Meersbrook, had levels of cannabis in his blood, which would have contributed to the accident, the inquest was told.

Former High Storrs School pupil Oliver climbed on to the roof of Arundel Joinery with a friend at 4.30am and they painted separate areas.

His friend realised Oliver was not on the roof an hour later and went to look for him.

While searching, he was seen by a security guard and ran off, assuming Oliver had also been seen and had left the roof first.

Assistant Coroner Abigail Combes said: “I am satisfied Oliver has fallen through the skylight of Arundel Joinery.

“He fell 15-20 feet to the floor below and his death is the result of an accident.”

Detective Constable Andrew Bates told the court that Oliver was found underneath a missing skylight when workers opened up a few hours after the fall.

DC Bates told the court: “The pair had gone graffiti tagging around Sheffield city centre before they ended up on Sidney Street, where they did some painting on roofs on Arundel Joinery.”

He said Oliver was found with ‘a number of tins of spray paint with him and paint on his fingers’.

At the hearing Oliver’s mother, Amelia Crowther, paid tribute to a ‘free spirit’ with ‘lots of friends’ and a love of nature.

She said: “Oliver was very funny, had a good sense of humour and was very caring.

“He was a fantastic older brother to his sister, who misses him terribly.”

She added: “He loved the outdoors and did not like being inside.

“He walked or cycled everywhere and was a free spirit.

“I loved him more than anything in the world.”

His father, Paul Hunt, said Oliver had been ‘very happy’ in the weeks prior to his death after getting a girlfriend and securing a place at college.