A FORMER UK chief commissioner of The Scout Association told an inquest he was advised not to suspend the leaders overseeing a trip during which a teenager died in Llandudno.

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

At today’s (February 12) hearing of the full inquest into his death, held at Manchester Civil Justice Centre, Tim Kidd, chief commissioner from 2016 and 2021, said he agreed with the advice given to him at the time.

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

North Wales Pioneer: Ben LeonardBen Leonard (Image: Family handout)


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Mr Kidd also admitted the fact that there some of the participants on the trip were aged 18 or older presented safeguarding issues.

He said: “I was told we should not suspend the Scout leaders, and I agreed that we should not suspend given the advice.

“My view now is that I would suspend, no matter what the legal advice may be. We should be erring on the side of caution.”

Mr Kidd added that it did not take Ben’s death for training issues with The Scout Association to be addressed, but rather the availability of new data which highlighted certain shortcomings.

North Wales Pioneer: Manchester Civil Justice CentreManchester Civil Justice Centre (Image: Newsquest)

He also conceded that there “should have been, in retrospect”, a serious incident review within The Scout Association following Ben’s death, as there had been when six-year-old Alan Lock died on a Beaver Scout walk in 2009.

Ross Maloney, chief operating officer at The Scout Association at the time of Ben’s death, said there was “no prescribed policy” in this regard.

Mr Maloney added that there was an “immediate fact-finding exercise” within the organisation, which highlighted numerous matters which required addressing urgently.

“When matters were known to us, we acted on them,” said Mr Maloney, who later became deputy chief executive of The Scout Association, but has since left the organisation.

He added that changes have since been made to areas such as first aid requirements and risk assessments, saying: “It’s not that we have done nothing since 2018.”

The inquest, the third into Ben’s death, started on January 4, and continues tomorrow.