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'He died doing what he loved best'.

Byline: KATIE GRANT

HE died doing what he loved best.

Yesterday a coroner recorded a verdict of misadventure into the death of Shelley rock climber Lawrence Walker.

The inquest at Huddersfield Magistrates' Court heard how a rock 'as big as a grown man' struck the 21-year-old as he scaled Ailefroide mountain in the Hautes-Alpes in France.

Lawrence, of Far Bank, and his friend Alex Green were negotiating a rocky ridge on July 12 as part of their summer climbing holiday.

The inquest heard how Alex was high above Lawrence when he grabbed hold of a huge rock.

But suddenly the stone came away in Alex's hands, sending him tumbling down the cliff.

As the rock cascaded down the mountain it tragically hit Lawrence.

Both the young men fell into a ravine below.

Frenchman Jean Phillippe Josserand was at the bottom of the cliff with his climbing partner.

The rock missed Mr Josserand but injured his friend.

A statement from Mr Josserand said: "It all happened so quickly. Since the accident happened we called the rescue services almost every day.

"It's hard for me to know that a young guy died."

Tragically Lawrence was pronounced dead at the scene while Alex and the French casualty were taken away by helicopter.

Coroner Roger Whittaker said Lawrence had died doing what he loved best.

Lawrence's dad Richard said he and his family had many precious photos of Lawrence rock climbing with a 'big smile on his face'.

He said: "He was doing what he really, really enjoyed."

Richard explained his son's death had been a 'freak accident' and no-one was to blame.

He added: "It could have happened any possible way.

"The French climbers could have gone first - they could have gone round the other way.

"It could have happened differently - it's just a freak accident."

Richard said Alex was recovering well and was able to come to his best friend's memorial service.

He said: "Our biggest concern is that he doesn't feel any blame.

"Lawrence has suddenly died and we've got to live with that.

"We don't want Alex to feel it was in any way his fault."

Coroner Roger Whittaker said Lawrence died from head and leg injuries and recorded a verdict of misadventure.

CAPTION(S):

FREAK DEATH: Lawrence Walker
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Aug 20, 2009
Words:379
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