Reveller fell to his death after toilet stop

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A REVELLER fell to his death after needing to use the toilet while crossing the Queen Alexandra Bridge.

Stuart Henderson had been walking home from Sunderland city centre with his girlfriend after a night out, an inquest heard.

But she lost the 26-year-old after he turned around and began walking back, saying he needed the toilet, and never saw him again.

He was reported missing the next morning, but police found his body in a yard under the bridge.

The hearing at the civic centre was told Mr Henderson and his girlfriend, Samantha Thompson, left the Cooper Rose at about 3am.

They got a taxi to the south side of the Queen Alexandra Bridge, where they got out as they did not have enough money.

Miss Thompson said her boyfriend began to panic as they walked across the bridge.

“We were walking across the bridge together and he kept stopping,” she said.

“I got to the end of the bridge and turned round. Then he said he needed a wee.”

She said Mr Henderson, of Arnold Street, Boldon Colliery, walked back over the bridge while she kept walking to the north side.

“When I turned around at the roundabout he was not there, so I went back to see if I could see him.

“I went to where I had left him and looked across, but I could not see him. I thought he had gone back into town.”

Mr Henderson was reported missing the next morning, after she contacted his brother to find he had not returned home after last being seen on the bridge.

Acting Detective Inspector Jacqui Croskery, of Northumbria Police’s Major Crime Team, said officers got access to the yard where Mr Henderson’s body was found the following day, May 7, after searches were unsuccessful.

The position of his clothing suggested he could have been going to the toilet when he fell.

A post mortem examination showed Mr Henderson died from multiple injuries, including two fractures to his skull.

Pathologist Jennifer Bolton said there was no evidence anyone else had been involved in his death.

She believed there were some initial suspicions over his fatal injuries, because he not fallen straight from the bridge to the ground.

Indentations in the roof of a shed near to where he fell suggested it may have broken his fall. Tests revealed that the drug MDMA, known as Ecstasy, was in his system and a small amount of alcohol.

Dr Bolton said: “There was a history that he had gone to buy an Ecstasy tablet, and I can confirm what he did buy was Ecstasy.

“We do know that Ecstasy does play a role in his death in one way or another.”

She gave cause of death as multiple injuries, contributed to by the effects of MDMA.

Inquiries to trace the taxi driver who dropped the couple off had failed and none of Mr Henderson’s friends and family had seen him take Ecstasy.

Verdict: Accident

Twitter: @janethejourno