‘Friends not to blame for tragedy’ say cliff-fall victim Karl’s family

Karl Carson's death after he fled from police custody was accidental, a jury decided.
Karl Carson's death after he fled from police custody was accidental, a jury decided.
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The family of a man who fell to his death from cliffs have cleared his two friends of any responsibility - after a police chief pointed the finger of blame at them.

A jury today concluded that Karl Carson’s death - when he escaped from a police car after being arrested - was accidental after a four-day inquest at Gateshead Civic Centre.

We wish to make clear ... that we feel that Daniel Lydon and Shaun Carroll had no responsibility at all for what happened.

Karl Carson’s family

Earlier in the week, Inspector Gary Dickson told the hearing the “sad truth” was Mr Carson might still be alive if it hadn’t been for the actions of his friends, Shaun Carroll and Daniel Lydon.

Both men were with father-of-two Mr Carson, 26, of Arnold Street, Boldon Colliery, when all three were detained by officers on the Coast Road in South Shields on July 6 last year, after a fracas outside the Marsden Grotto pub.

Inspector Dickson said Mr Carson, who played football for Boldon CA in the Wearside League, was the “most compliant and least aggressive” of the three, saying it was his friends who had fuelled the situation.

The hearing heard earlier that Mr Carson was “compliant”, but escaped from the car while police were involved in an altercation with his friends.

Mr Carson ran off and his body was later found at the foot of the cliffs at Marsden.

But it was an accusation repudiated in a statement issued by Mr Carson’s family.

It said: “At this point all we wish to make clear is that we feel that Daniel Lydon and Shaun Carroll had no responsibility at all for what happened.”

The family also spoke of the devastating impact of Mr Carson’s death, adding: “When we last saw Karl he had a lovely day with Laura and his children. He was happy, was in a good place and had everything to live for.

“He was known as a big character by everyone who knew him. To wake and find that he had died was devastating for us all.

“We can’t put into words what will be missing in our lives now that he has gone.

“We have listened very carefully to the evidence that has been heard in the past four days.

“We wish to thank everyone who provided medical assistance to Karl in their efforts to try to save him.”