Man died in front of fiancée by falling down spiral stairs at Christmas party

A young woman saw her fiancé fall to his death as a stunt he attempted went badly wrong in Derby County FC’s stadium.

Jack Watson, 24, lost his balance on a second floor bannister as he was leaving a Christmas party in Igor’s Lounge.

Fiancée Alexa Heacock rushed to the bottom to find design engineer Jack had suffered a fatal head injury.

The slip happened shortly after midnight on November 30 2019 at his employer Expleo Limited’s bash.

Jack’s mum Jill Watson said she wished she could ‘turn the clock back’ as she paid tribute to her son at Derby Coroner’s Court.

She said: ‘I would like to say he wasn’t just only our son – he was a real friend. He was kind-hearted, thoughtful, full of fun and he liked to have a laugh.

‘He was really intelligent, he worked really hard with his degree. He had moved to Derby just six months earlier. He was happy and looking forward to whatever life would bring him.

‘Jack and Alexa had been together since they were 16. We are heartbroken. You just wish you could turn the clock back.’


Alexa told the inquest her partner had been ‘between merry and drunk’ when they went to leave the Championship club’s Pride Park stadium.

She said: ‘He decided it would be fun to slide down the bannister.

‘He went to slide down the bannister on his bum to get to the bottom of the first landing. But he tipped backwards and fell down the whole of the spiral staircase instead.’

A nurse who was at the same party gave first aid until an ambulance arrived, but paramedics were unable to save him.

The inquest heard the stair railings were found to be ‘structurally sound’ by an inspector from Derby City Council and that they were up to national standards and had not contributed to the fall.


The club has since put an additional security guard for hospitality events whose job is to patrol the landings and stairwells to ensure nothing similar happens again.

But the coroner Tanyka Rawden said: ‘Sadly in this situation I do not think Jack’s death would’ve been prevented.

‘This is the most tragic of situations and I cannot imagine what you have gone through..

‘I’m so sorry that Jack isn’t in your lives anymore. I can see how much you miss him.’

She recorded a conclusion of death by misadventure.

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