Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Experienced Abseiler Died in Fall Hunting for Gemstones

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Experienced Abseiler Died in Fall Hunting for Gemstones

Article excerpt

Byline: Sophie Barley Crime Reporter

AN unsafe abseiling expedition to find a sought-after gemstone ended in tragedy when an experienced climber fell to his death.

Malcolm Hall, from Skelton, had not used safe "fixed points" to hold the rope which he was dangling 50m from at Kettleness cliff in Whitby.

The rope was wrapped round a boulder and then tied to Mr Hall's friend Joseph Faichney who had to make the devastating decision to let the rope go to save his own life.

At an inquest held at Teesside Coroner's Court yesterday, assistant coroner Malcolm Donnelly said Mr Hall, 51, was the "author of his own misfortune" as he had not put necessary safety procedures in place on the fateful day in July last year.

The inquest heard that Mr Hall was an experienced climber and had a basic level one abseiling qualification.

Mr Faichney, 28, who is still traumatised from the tragedy, had never abseiled before - only when he was a boy as a Scout which the inquest was told was nothing like the same level at which he was abseiling that day.

It was Mr Faichney's birthday on the day of the tragedy and Mr Hall took him abseiling as a "treat".

The pair were in search of jet - a black stone found in the Whitby area, which is fashioned into jewellery.

Mr Hall, known as Mac, regularly went abseiling down cliffs in search of jet which can be sold for PS100 per pound.

The court heard Mr Hall, a grandad, had picked three "fixed" safety points - the cliff edge, a boulder which he wrapped the rope round and Mr Faichney who had it tied to his waist. Det Sgt Mark Proctor who investigated the incident said none of these were safe fixed points.

The court heard that a few minutes into the abseil, Mr Faichney started to feel the rope moving and slipping. …

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