An 18-year-old student plummeted four floors to her death in what a coroner has concluded was a tragic accident.
Ella Halliday attended Liverpool John Moores University as a student before she died on June 1, 2021.
A short inquest into her death, held on September 10 at Gerard Majella Courthouse, was told that Ella was heard speaking to a man in the flat before her death.
Merseyside Police had initially arrested a 21-year-old man on suspicion of murder, but he was later released and the force confirmed that he will not face any criminal charges.
Andre Rebello, senior coroner for Liverpool and Wirral, told Ella’s family the police investigation had concluded that “no-one was near Ella” when she fell.
A pathologist concluded the cause of her death as severe blunt force head injuries “consistent with a fall from height”.
Mr Rebello said: “The injuries are such, I think four floors into the atrium Ella has fallen, and given the head injuries I am certain she would have been unconscious immediately and she would have known very, very little about the incident.”
The court heard that Ella had a moderate level of alcohol in her blood, but not an amount that would be unexpected if she had been drinking socially that evening and “certainly not excessive”.
Describing the fall, Mr Rebello said: “There’s a witness who had heard the exchanges within Ella’s flat and he could see the railings in front of the flat.
“As he was sitting there looking in the direction of the flat he heard Ella state ‘I’m going to jump’. He saw Ella had her hand on the balcony and fell over.
“There’s no mention of anyone being near her at that time. Ella had had a drink and what we don’t know, and I can’t ask her, is what she meant by ‘I’m going to jump’.
Mental health support
Helplines and support groups
The following are helplines and support networks for people to talk to, mostly listed on the NHS Choices website
- Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected].
- CALM Campaign Against Living Miserably (0800 58 58 58) is a leading movement against suicide. It runs a UK helpline and webchat from 5pm to midnight 365 days a year for anyone who has hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support.
- PANDAS (0808 1961 776) runs a free helpline and offers a support service for people who may be suffering with perinatal mental illness, including prenatal (antenatal) and postnatal depression plus support for their family or network.
- Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
- PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is an organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
- Mind (0300 123 3393) is a charity providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
- Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
- Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
Amparo provides emotional and practical support for anyone who has been affected by a suicide. This includes dealing with police and coroners; helping with media enquiries; preparing for and attending an inquest and helping to access other, appropriate, local support services. Call 0330 088 9255 or visit www.amparo.org.uk for more details.
- Hub of Hope is the UK’s most comprehensive national mental health support database. Download the free app, visit hubofhope.co.uk or text HOPE to 85258 to find relevant services near you.
- Young Persons Advisory Service – Providing mental health and emotional wellbeing services for Liverpool’s children, young people and families. tel: 0151 707 1025 email: [email protected]
- Paul’s Place – providing free counselling and group sessions to anyone living in Merseyside who has lost a family member or friend to suicide. Tel: 0151 226 0696 or email: [email protected]
“Was this part of the conversation she was having with the person inside the flat or was it her intention to fall to her death?
“I have got to treat things on the balance of probabilities when she put her hands on the rail and she is seen to fall.
“That could easily have been an inadvertent fall from a position, for want of a better word, when she was negotiating with the person in the room.
“I have always looked upon this incident as a most tragic accident and that’s where the general thrust of the evidence leads me.”
No further evidence was shared in open court regarding the exchanges with the man in the flat.
Mr Rebello recorded a conclusion of accidental death.
Ella’s family did not wish to comment after the hearing, but a funeral notice placed in their local paper the Huddersfield Examiner at the time of her death stated: “Ella is loved by many people and will live forever in our hearts.”
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