Page last updated at 11:09 GMT, Friday, 8 May 2009 12:09 UK

Death fall climber gave up helmet

Dewerstone
Capt Crisp fell about 70ft (21m) from a ledge on the Dewerstone

A Royal Marine who died in a climbing accident at a Devon beauty spot had given his helmet to his less experienced brother, an inquest heard.

Capt Dominic Crisp suffered fatal head injuries in the fall at the Dewerstone on Dartmoor last June.

The 27-year-old from 42 Commando had offered his helmet to his brother and his girlfriend over fears he might dislodge rocks ahead of them.

Plymouth deputy coroner Andrew Cox said the death had been a "tragic accident".

The inquest was told the Royal Marines officer had learned to climb on a mountain leaders' course a year before the tragedy.

'Element of inexperience'

He suffered a fractured skull and five broken ribs when he slipped and fell about 70ft (21m) from a ledge. He died from multiple organ failure 10 days later in Plymouth's Derriford Hospital.

Giving evidence Capt Crisp's girlfriend Ellie Jones and his younger brother Charlie Crisp said he had offered them his helmet because neither had climbed before.

He climbed up the rock face to the first ledge, setting up secure points in the rock on the way so the others could follow and was about to start abseiling down the almost sheer crag when he fell.

Mr Crisp, aged 24, said moments before the fall his brother had called down: "I'm safe, you don't need to do anything."

He said the climbing helmet had been left on the ground by Capt Crisp to protect his girlfriend and brother from any loose stones falling from under him, but neither had put it on.

Miss Jones said: "He wanted us to be safe more than himself. It seems ironic now."

Royal Marines climbing expert Colour Sgt Ian Billings said there was damage to a fitting intended to hold Capt Crisp as he abseiled.

He said the captain had fixed himself to two safety lines but one jammed and the mounting on the other pulled out because it could not cope with the sudden loading of weight.

The coroner said: "What happened here was a tragic accident.

"This young man was fit and healthy and by all accounts had a promising career to look forward to in the Royal Marines.

"There may have been an element of inexperience in what happened but we shall never know."



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