A GROUP Scout leader has admitted amending the training record of his colleague shortly after a teenager fell to his death while on a trip to the Great Orme, an inquest heard.

Benjamin Leonard, 16, of Stockport, suffered fatal head injuries when he fell about 200ft after slipping from the Great Orme in Llandudno while on an Explorer Scouts trip on August 26, 2018.

On the eighth day of the third inquest into his death, held at Manchester Civil Justice Centre yesterday (January 22), it was heard that mandatory risk assessments were not carried out prior to the trip.


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The plan for the two-day trip had been to hike up Yr Wyddfa, but that changed on the second day to a walk up the Great Orme due to a forecast of adverse weather.

There were three leaders on the trip - Sean Glaister, Gareth Williams and Mary Carr – but none were suitably qualified first aiders for the trip, a breach of Scout rules.

Brian Garraway, a group Scout leader who was a qualified first aider, was believed by some to also be going on the trip, but did not.

Mr Garraway, who gave evidence at yesterday's hearing, said he changed Ms Carr’s training record after Benjamin’s death, having not received her first aid certificate until then.

North Wales Pioneer: Benjamin LeonardBenjamin Leonard (Image: Family handout)

Formerly the group Scout leader for the 1st/4th Reddish Scout Group of which Ben was a part, and a training advisor, Mr Garraway has been suspended from the association since November 2022.

Yesterday's hearing was also told that Mr Williams should have had, but did not receive, the mandatory training for new Scout leaders – Mr Garraway could not recall why this hadn’t happened, adding: “I believed he had.”

Asked by Sophie Cartwright KC, counsel to the inquest, if he should have checked this prior to the trip, he said: “It was a district responsibility until it was handed over to the group Scout leader.”

Mr Garraway added that, prior to Benjamin’s death, he did not recall receiving any instructions that risk assessments for events away from Scout huts were compulsory, as stated in the Scout Association’s Policy, Organisation and Rules (POR).

He was training advisor to Ms Carr, but not to Mr Williams – asked why this was the case, he said he did not know.

Correspondence read out in the hearing showed that Mr Garraway had given prior notice that he would not be able to attend the trip as he was babysitting his grandchildren in the Lake District.

“It wasn’t my role to organise the trip,” he said, adding that nothing was said to him about the trip or its planning when the Scouts were packing for the hike earlier that week.

His absence was in spite of Mr Glaister, the Scout leader primarily in charge of the trip, designating him as the trip’s “first aider”.

Mr Garraway added: “At no point did I tell him (Mr Glaister) that I would be coming on the trip.”

The day after Benjamin died, Mr Garraway said he sent an email about other Scout leaders who, like Mr Glaister, had expired first aid certificates.

Bernard Richmond KC, representing Benjamin’s family, told Mr Garraway: “You know full well that it’s incumbent on anyone doing a risk assessment to assess the risk for anyone doing the activity.

“For an external activity such as walking on the Orme, the idea of you doing an ‘in-life’ (real-time) assessment is wrong.”

Mr Garraway said the matter was not “as black and white” as this, adding that he knew the Great Orme well and walked up it with his five-year-old grandson last September.

“I haven’t been on the Great Orme - would you let me take your grandson?” Mr Richmond asked him.

“The dangers would become apparent as you walk,” he replied.

“From your perspective,” Mr Richmond told Mr Garraway, “risk assessment is that you deal with danger as you encounter it.”

Asked how one would know “where not to go” on the Great Orme, Mr Garraway answered: “It’s well-signposted towards the summit.”

“That’s your evidence, is it?” Mr Richmond asked.

“That’s my belief,” he said.

Mr Richmond continued: “When you saw there was no first aider currently available for that trip, why on earth are you not saying to Mr Glaister: ‘What are you going to do?’”

“Because the trip was an Explorer trip; nothing to do with my group,” Mr Garraway said.

“So, if it’s nothing to do with your group, they can be unsafe as they like?” Mr Richmond replied.

“No; that’s not what I said,” Mr Garraway added.

"Either you're in a position of responsibility or you're not," Mr Richmond told him.

During yesterday's hearing, the inquest was told that Dr Mark Atkinson, in undertaking Benjamin’s post-mortem examination, recorded a provisional cause of death of head injury.

Extensive bruising and skull fracturing was found, with no evidence that Benjamin was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of his death.

Written statements by paramedics who attended the scene of the incident were also read out, stating that all in attendance were satisfied that everything was done to save Benjamin.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was performed, while adrenaline, tranexamic acid and saline was also administered.

The inquest is set to continue for another two to three weeks.