Coroner rules Aussie jockey's death a tragic misadventure
Coroner's inquiry into death of Aussie jockey who tried to climb into 12-storey-high condo unit
An Australian jockey had drunk eight bottles of beer over an afternoon before falling 12 storeys to his death last year.
Mr Timothy Gordon Bell, 22, had forgotten his house keys and attempted to climb into his flat when he fell, as his girlfriend watched in horror.
An autopsy showed that Mr Bell was found with 268mg of alcohol in every 100ml of his urine.
In comparison, motorists found with more than 80mg of alcohol in 100ml urine are considered to be drink driving, investigation officer Inspector Fiona Teo told the court in an inquiry into Mr Bell's death yesterday.
Delivering his findings, State Coroner Marvin Bay said Mr Bell's death was a tragic misadventure.
He said: "The fact that Mr Bell had consumed a quantity of alcohol earlier may have made his proposed course of action more difficult to execute and also perilous."
Mr Bell died on Nov 3, the day of the Melbourne Cup, the top horse race in Australia.
The country typically comes to a standstill for about four minutes as Australians, who are not at the track, watch the race live on TV.
Mr Bell, his girlfriend Ms Heidi Leann Whalley, 19, and his flatmate, Mr Michael John Lockett, 52 - both Australians - had gone to the Boomarang Bistro and Bar at Robertson Quay that day to continue the tradition.
The young couple left Mr Lockett at the bar in the late afternoon before stopping by Lot One Shoppers' Mall at Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4 to buy food.
Mr Bell found out that he did not have his keys with him when they reached his front door at around 6.45pm.
The jockey, who lived at the Mi Casa condominium in Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3, then decided to climb into his apartment through an open kitchen window, about 1.7m from the front door.
Ms Whalley tried to dissuade him, but he ignored her protests and climbed over a wall that was 1.6m high. To her horror, he lost his balance after going over the wall and fell to the first storey.
Mr Bell was rushed to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital where he died of multiple injuries at 8.20pm.
An autopsy revealed the injuries included a ruptured liver and multiple fractures to his spine.
Mr Bay said: "These cases starkly show the risks involved when persons who find themselves locked out of their apartments act impulsively to regain access by traversing parapets, balconies or other supporting structures to return to their units."
The tragedy had shocked the horse racing community.
Mr Bell, who was here on a three-month contract with the Singapore Turf Club, rode six winners in the two months before his death.
He had earned his first piece of silverware on Oct 25 when he won the $150,000 Group 3 El Dorado Classic.
The fact that Mr Bell had consumed a quantity of alcohol earlier may have made his proposed course of action more difficult to execute and also perilous.
- State Coroner Marvin Bay