Tragedy of Doncaster teen’s ‘van surfing’ death

Third Avenue Woodlands where Scott Blackburn tragically died.
Third Avenue Woodlands where Scott Blackburn tragically died.
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A GRIEVING mum has warned teenagers against ‘surfing’ on motor vehicles after her son was killed when he fell off the back of a van driven by his older brother.

Scott Blackburn’s head hit the road in Woodlands, Doncaster, and he died within minutes from the skull injury.

Scott Blackburn

Scott Blackburn

His distraught brother told witnesses he had no idea the 15-year-old had been hitching a ride on the rear bumper.

Damien Blackburn, aged 18 at the time, should not have been driving because he had lost his licence because of motoring offences.

But the Crown Prosecution Service say it is not in the public interest to charge him with criminal offences.

It is believed to be the first fatality of its kind in South Yorkshire.

Floral tributes to Scott Blackburn

Floral tributes to Scott Blackburn

After yesterday’s Doncaster inquest into Scott’s death 21 months ago, mum Andrea Blackburn, aged 42, said she does not blame Damien, now aged 20.

“I would say to any other teenagers not to do this sort of thing, definitely not,” she said. “Scott was just a big joker who lived life. That was the daring type of child he was.”

Andrea, a school dinner lady, remembered: “We’d had a fantastic day that Sunday because I’d just talked him into staying on at school for the sixth form.

“Had I not been on the computer I would have walked behind the van as Damien got it off the drive to park it on the road, and Scott would have walked at the side, and that is the guilt I hold, because he would have been here now.”

The inquest heard Damien drove their father’s works van off the drive of their house in Welfare Road and into Third Avenue to turn it round.

He said he was unaware that Scott, who weighed 20 stone, had climbed onto the bumper and was spread-eagled across the rear doors until he lost his grip and fell backwards onto Third Avenue.

The family had just returned from a motocross biking event at Finningley and had unloaded their motorcycles before cleaning the van.

Damien said: “I just jumped in to take it out of the garden and went to the end of the drive. Our drive is tight so I couldn’t swing it round.

“The van had some weight in it from dad’s tools so I didn’t feel anybody climbing onto it. I was in first gear, I wasn’t going fast, there’s no way I can go fast down there because of the speed bumps.

“I didn’t see him until after I got to the end of Third Avenue and saw he was lying in the road. I thought he was messing about until I saw all the blood.

“I never saw him in the mirrors. The first time I saw him was when I got to the end and part of the way back.”

Damien said Scott had ridden on the van bumper before, but not on the road, only at the motocross track when the driver knew he was there.

Next door neighbour Adrian Roffe who saw the incident from his window said he thought Scott stepped off the bumper because he couldn’t hold on any longer.

Sgt Andy Noble said the matter had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service because criminal offences were evident, but the CPS took the view it was not in the public interest to proceed.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Coroner Nicola Mundy said it was clear Scott had jumped on the back of the van in the centre of the vehicle, and that a driver would not be able to see him.

She was also satisfied Damien was not aware he had clambered on.

“It is my view he lost his grip and couldn’t hold on any longer and fell to the ground and sustained a head injury,” she said.