Shuttleworth College pupil Robbie Williamson was walking on the pipe attached to the Dugdale Bridge over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal when he slipped and hit his head before landing in the water, an inquest at Burnley Town Hall was told.
After hearing evidence from paramedics, doctors and pathologists, coroner Richard Taylor concluded Robbie’s death was ‘accidental’.
But he said he would now be writing to all gas companies urging them to block public access to all exposed pipes in a bid to prevent such tragedies happening again.They won’t pay for it. They’ll pass it on to their customers.
They aren’t stupid, even if the coroner is.
In a statement, a National Grid spokeswoman said: “We would like to express our sympathies to Robbie’s family and friends and we acknowledge how painful today’s inquest must have been for them.
“Since April 23, we have installed protection on the pipe over Dugdale Bridge and have carried out a thorough review of all the other pipe crossings we own to see if there is a need for additional measures to be taken to prevent access.
“We will share details of our review with the wider gas industry.
“The pipe alongside Dugdale Bridge is 12 inches in diameter and is fixed to the side of the bridge.
“It has been in place since 1903.
“Our investigations found we had no record of anyone contacting us or our predecessor companies to report an issue with children climbing on this pipe.
“We and other utility companies can put deterrents in place but we think it is important to stress the need for people to be aware of the dangers involved in climbing on structures such as these.”What? Personal responsibility? We can’t have that!