Date: 24 Jun 2020
Place: Duke Street, Ipswich
Gary Henderson died after falling out of a third-floor flat balcony in Duke Street, Ipswich.
He was said to have died fearing for his life and had been trying to escape from his flat at the time following an altercation.
He was pronounced dead at 2.36am on 24 June 2020, having suffered severe traumatic head injuries.
He had lived in Harwich and was said to have rarely left the area and the fact that he had taken a taxi to go to a party at the flat in Ipswich was described as very peculiar.
He had gone ot the party with a friend and there had been five people there. It was said that they had all been drinking but that later in the night an altercation broke out, resulting in people leaving after which there had only beed Gary Henderson and two other people there.
Gary Henderson's friend said that one of the people there had created an atmosphere of aggression, but couldn't say whether Gary Henderson had been too afraid to leave by the front door.
The police said that the exact reason Gary Henderson climbed over the balcony couldn’t be ascertained on the available evidence.
It was heard that Gary Henderson had spent the night on the sofa at the flat and that the altercation took place between where he had been and the front door and that his natural line of escape would have been the French doors behind him and the balcony. It was added that he had been in unfamiliar circumstances as he had never been to the flat before and that he was under the influence of alcohol, it being found that he had 13 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood which likely have resulted in an 'extreme degree of intoxication in an average social drinker', and that as such he might have miscalculated hte balconies height or otherwise not been thinking clearly.
A police detective inspector said, 'I believe Gary ended up on that balcony because he was in fear of what was happening inside that flat'.
A neighbour said that they saw Gary Henderson on the balcony railing from the window of his flat and saw he fall, saying that he had started to try to climb down onto the balcony below when he slipped. The neighbour said that he had looked out of his window after hearing 'laughter and singing' and had assumed that there was some sort of party on. Howevver, he said that the sounds later changed in the early hours of the morning and when the shouting and screaming started he looked out to see Gary Henderson on the other side of the railing and one of the guests trying to pull him back over. He and another witness said that they saw the moment Gary Henderson fell. They added that they then both looked away as they 'didn't want to watch' what followed, and that they then immediately called for an ambulance.
Three people were initially arrested on suspicion of Gary Henderson's murder, with one released and two others re-arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, after which they were all released without charge.
A file was sent to the Crime Prosecution Service for consideration, but the case was not brought to trial.
At his inquest, the Coroner recorded his cause of death as a severe traumatic head injury and said, 'Gary died when fearing for his safety he climbed over the balcony of a third floor flat and his footing, falling to the floor below'.