Urban explorer, 22, died falling through roof of abandoned Devon dairy building, inquest hears


Urban explorer, 22, plunged 20 feet to his death when he fell through roof of abandoned dairy building, inquest hears

  • Ethan Bonnar, 22, suffered a traumatic brain injury after the fall in Totnes, Devon
  • He had been reported missing but was found a day later in the disused building
  • Student loved climbing and exploring abandoned buildings, said his girlfriend
  • The coroner recorded a conclusion of accidental death at inquest in Plymouth

An urban explorer plunged 20 feet to his death when he fell through the roof of an abandoned dairy building, an inquest heard today.

Ethan Bonnar, 22, suffered a traumatic brain injury after dropping through a sky light in the roof of the disused warehouse in Totnes, Devon.

The student, born in Scotland, had been reported missing but was found a day later in the building, having fallen 20 feet through a roof onto a concrete floor.

Ethan, who was studying an illustration course at Plymouth University, loved climbing and exploring abandoned buildings, said his girlfriend Charlotte Rose.

Ethan Bonnar, 22, suffered a traumatic brain injury after dropping through a sky light in the roof of the disused warehouse in Totnes, Devon

Ethan was studying an illustration course at Plymouth University

Ethan Bonnar (pictured left and right), 22, suffered a traumatic brain injury after dropping through a sky light in the roof of the disused warehouse in Totnes, Devon

The student, born in Scotland, loved climbing and exploring abandoned buildings, said his girlfriend Charlotte Rose

The student, born in Scotland, loved climbing and exploring abandoned buildings, said his girlfriend Charlotte Rose

Judge’s bid to stop urban explorers entering a construction site set to have tallest cranes in the City of London

A High Court judge has moved to stop urban explorers entering a construction site expected to feature the tallest cranes in the City of London.

Mrs Justice Stacey has made an order against ‘persons unknown’ after a construction firm creating a 155-metre tall building in Leadenhall Street took legal action.  

A barrister representing Mace Limited  said there had been ‘no known incursions’ at the site but told the judge about ‘seven instances of urban explorer trespass’ at other Mace sites across London.

Mrs Justice Stacey granted Mace’s application for an injunction to ‘restrain trespass’.

She said in her ruling: ‘The pattern of behaviour and bravado of urban explorers in relation to other notable London sites in the past two years leads me to conclude that the probability of a trespass is not only imminent and real, but also high.’ 

She added: ‘The risk of death or serious injury from an urban explorer trespass at the site is both real and would be grave and irreparable as demonstrated by the number of deaths of urban explorers over the past six years.’  

She said Ethan would explore either alone, with her or friends, adding: ‘He did this not to cause damage but to take pictures and videos because he appreciated the aesthetic.’

A woman introduced them to the Urban Explorer forum and in July last year he decided to go to the old dairy site in Totnes and sent Charlotte a video from the roof of the building.

Charlotte said she had no more contact from Greenock-born Ethan and later contacted his mother, Cheryl Reynolds. 

They reported him missing to the police and sent officers the video Ethan had taken.

Police searched the old dairy and found Ethan unconscious. He died later in a Plymouth hospital.

Detective Sergeant Andy Penhaligon told the inquest: ‘No third party was present at the time Ethan fell through the roof. 

‘It appeared to be a tragic accident.’

Ethan’s mother Cheryl, from Torquay, Devon, issued a warning to others about the dangers of urban exploring at the time of her son’s death.

She said: ‘What he did was so dangerous. I just want this message to get out there that these young people just don’t realise how dangerous is it in these old buildings.

‘I told Ethan not to do it and I told him he was being an idiot but he always thought he would be okay. 

‘The last thing he sent was this video of him on top of the roof.

‘Ethan had a heart of gold, he was such a likeable, positive, outgoing person.’

The senior Plymouth and south Devon coroner Ian Arrow recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

He said: ‘He went to a derelict building and while exploring that building he has fallen through the skylight and landed heavily on the concrete floor below.

‘Ethan was clearly a content person who liked exploring.’

Ethan's mother, Cheryl Reynolds, from Torquay, Devon, said: 'Ethan had a heart of gold, he was such a likeable, positive, outgoing person'

Ethan’s mother, Cheryl Reynolds, from Torquay, Devon, said: ‘Ethan had a heart of gold, he was such a likeable, positive, outgoing person’

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