20 Mar 2009

Findings reserved over fatal fall down bank

8:14 pm on 20 March 2009

The Coroner has reserved his findings at an inquest into the death of a Wellington man who fell 12 metres from a shared pathway near his home.

The Wellington City Council told the court on Friday there are more than 400 such pathways around the city and confusion has reigned for decades over their maintenance.

Michael Webby, 29, was returning from a David Beckham exhibition football match when he died in December 2007.

Constable Andrew Guy told the court that when Mr Webby stumbled on the pathway his girlfriend helped him to his feet, but he lost his balance and fell about 12 metres on to Glenmore Street in Thorndon.

Mr Guy said there was no fence railing in the area and a pathologist report showed Mr Webby's blood-alcohol level was almost four times the legal limit for driving, both of which contributed to his death.

Stavros Michael from the council said the path's designation had changed more than 60 years ago, meaning the council was responsible for maintaining it.

However, Mr Michael said problems with the railing had not been reported, so it was not in a position to make repairs.