Blackpool punk rocker from The Fits drowned after fall from Lover's Leap

A former punk rocker from Blackpool drowned after falling accidentally from a cliff into the River Dart on Dartmoor.

A former punk rocker from Blackpool drowned after falling accidentally from a cliff into the River Dart on Dartmoor.

Michael Crudge, who was singer in a 1970s band called the Fits before he moved to Devon and became a healer and hypnotherapist, was on a Sunday walk with his wife Orsolya Balla in August last year.

An inquest in Plymouth, Devon, heard that 59-year-old Michael climbed to the top of the landmark called Lover’s Leap on private land at Poundsgate, Devon, before he slipped and fell 40 feet into the river below.

The Fits with Michael Crudge far right

His frantic wife ran to get help and two women entered the River Dart to locate Michael - but despite their best efforts he had drowned.

A post mortem concluded he had drowned but pathologist Dr Paul Highley said he may have been knocked unconscious in the fall as he had injured his head.

His wife made a statement to the coroner telling him Michael was bare chested with a rucksack on his back when he went up Lover’s Leap as she stayed on the ground below.

She said he went near the edge of the ledge and said:”He appeared to wobble, stopped and wobbled again and put out his arms before he disappeared out of sight and fell over the edge.”

She said she heard a ‘slapping noise’ as his body hit rocks but he did not reply to her calls.

There was no mobile phone signal at the remote location and she ran to a nearby cottage to call for help.

A woman swimming the river called Belinda Abbott came to her aid and went into the water to try and locate Michael from the deep but slow moving river.

She said: “It was so cold, I was struggling.”

She found his submerged face down wedged near a boulder in the middle of the river but managed to flip him over and gave CPR before 999 crews arrived along with the Dartmoor Rescue Group.

Police said it was a ‘tragic accident’ and said Michael, of Newton Abbot, Devon, had fallen into the river and may have lost consciousness on the way down.

Senior coroner for Plymouth and south Devon Ian Arrow recorded an accidental death conclusion.

He said:”Michael set out for a day’s walk. It appears at the top of Lover’s Leap he has sadly accidentally fallen from the top and injured himself as he fell and entered the water.”!

Mr Arrow praised the efforts of ‘public spirited’ rescuers and especially Belinda Abbott who police said has been nominated for an award.

Michael worked as a hypnotherapist, and was a healer who also used Indian head massage and was a retreat organiser.

He had previously been the lead singer of a punk band in Blackpool called the Fits.