Teen boy, 14, who died after falling from roof 'may have be trying to get his cat to come inside', inquest hears

Teen boy, 14, who died after falling from roof 'may have be trying to get his cat to come inside', inquest hears

February 2, 2022

A TEENAGER who died after he climbed onto the roof of his house may have been trying to coax his pet cat inside, an inquest heard. 

Harry Ellis, 14, was found on a concrete driveway outside his family home having apparently fallen backwards onto the ground below.

His brother Ethan had previously seen him climb out onto the roof when the cat was there, Winchester Coroner's Court heard.  

Harry’s bedroom in the attic of the family's five-bedroom house had a window which could fully open onto the flat rooftop, five metres from the ground 

Summing up a statement from Harry’s mother and father, Sian and Jeremy, Hampshire Area Coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp said: “The mum had been out and about doing various jobs.

"When she came back, she spoke to Harry who had a normal day, he had been doing his art work at the kitchen table.

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“They had a chat and he went up to his room. 

"Both boys were upstairs and the parents were going off to get their covid vaccines and the mum shouted upstairs that they were going out, Ethan replied and Harry didn’t.

“She assumed it was because he had his headphones on and was listening to music. 

"They went out the house and her husband was in front her and that is when she saw Harry.

“There was a lot of blood on the drive way behind Harry’s head. 

"They had absolutely no idea what he was doing on the roof.

“He had no shoes on which indicates he did not intend to spend very long on the roof. 

"The cat goes out there and the boys try and get her back in but, being a cat, she often doesn’t respond.”

Harry's cat went inside after he fell off the roof

Harry was rushed to hospital after the fall in May last year but died from brain injuries eight days later. 

The day he fell, the cat had gone in through the cat flap just minutes after Harry was found by his mum and dad, the inquest was told.

The only time the 14-year-old had been seen on the roof previously was when his cat was there, Winchester Coroner's Court heard. 

Harry was described as a popular, loving and happy boy with a bright future ahead of him.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Ms Rhodes-Kemp said: “Harry was a very happy boy and there was no evidence of bullying or unhappiness.

“At school, he was very popular and was not into social media in a big way. 

"He loved his art, he was very good academically and had a bright future ahead of him.

“On the day of the accident, there was nothing about Harry’s demeanour at all that would have given rise for concern. 

"There is no suggestion this was deliberate in any way.

"The suggestion was that the only time his brother had seen him go onto the roof was when the cat was on the roof because Harry wanted to get him back into his room. 

"The cat went through the cat flap moments after his parents found Harry."

“Because of the open window and the fact that he had no shoes on and the fact that he seems to have fallen backwards suggests that he was on the flat roof which is about 5 metres from the ground.

“In falling and hitting his head on the driveway he sustained traumatic brain injuries.

“Given Harry’s history, I think the only appropriate conclusion is accident and sustained head injuries as a consequence.”

The inquest heard the family, which was described as close, has kept the cat since Harry’s death.

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