A FAMILY friend has described the death of Kirkham teenager Grace Ford as a tragic “waste” at an inquest.
The 17-year-old died from horrific injuries after plunging 90ft down an air shaft at a hotel in Magaluf, Majorca, during a holiday with friends to celebrate the end of their A Level exams.
Miss Ford a pupil at Kirkham Grammar School, fell from the Torrenova apartment block after accompanying 18-year-old Edward Soppet, a British holidaymaker, back to where he was staying following a night out on July 17.
The hotel has a strict no entry for non-guests and when Miss Ford was turned away by the night porter, the pair found a window around the side of the apartments which they believed led to the reception. It is thought Miss Ford, who lived in Greenhalgh, had been helped up to a sliding window to gain access to the premises.
But the window in fact led to a dark shaft which dropped to an indoor patio area and the popular student fell six storeys, suffering catastrophic fractures to her legs and pelvis as well as internal bleeding.
Blackpool coroner Anne Hind said: “Miss Ford had probably been helped to climb through this window.
“We can’t be certain of that but, looking at the height of it, it looks like that is what happened. Almost immediately after, the night watchman in the reception heard a bang.
“Mr Soppet walked into reception and said ‘what has happened?’. He was seen proceeding to go through reception and go in his bedroom.
“When the police went to question him, he was in bed and fast asleep.”
Mr Soppet, from Buckinghamshire, was arrested on suspicion of failing to report an accident but after appearing at court was released without charge.
Miss Ford was kept in a medically induced coma in Palma hospital and her parents – Chris and Suzanne – flew out to the island to keep vigil at her bedside.
Despite a brave battle, Miss Ford died 12 days later on July 29 after an infection set in.
Steven Hall, a close family friend who flew out to Majorca to support Miss Ford’s parents following the incident, said: “She was a stunning girl in every aspect. She was a straight A student and a wonderful athlete.
“Everything she did was to be the best.
“She never did anything by half.
“It’s just a waste.”
A consultant pathologist gave the cause of death as complications due to multiple injuries due to the fall.
Mrs Hind recorded a verdict of accidental death.
She said: “She was 17 years old, which is one of the most heartbreaking aspects of all.
“Her short life has ended because of this terrible thing.
“All this promise she had of a wonderful life was brought to an end.”