Wednesday 16 January 2019

Scaffolder killed in fall trying to get into pal's flat

Robbie Robinson
Robbie Robinson

A scaffolder who died from severe head injuries when he fell from a fourth-floor balcony in Thailand was trying to get into his friend's apartment without disturbing the neighbours, an inquest heard.

Robert Robinson (32), from Carrigbeg, Ashford, Co Wicklow, died in Beaumont Hospital on July 20 last year, a month after he fell from the apartment block in Bangkok's Lat Krabang district.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard he had just spent six weeks in Ireland for his mother's 50th birthday and his best friend's wedding.


He was stopping off to visit a friend on his way back to New Zealand where he had been working as a scaffolder.

His mother, Martina Fox, told the inquest he had been due to stay in Bangkok for three days. On the second night, June 21, she received a call from his friend telling her that her son was "after having a fall".

"He said, 'It is very serious, I don't think he is going to survive'," she said.

There was no investigation by Thai police into the fall. Mrs Fox said the family pieced together what happened from speaking to Robert's friend and his neighbour.

The friend had just moved into a new apartment with his two children and he and Mr Robinson went for two drinks.

He returned to the apartment to let the babysitter go and Mr Robinson, who did not have a key, followed on shortly afterwards. The incident happened at around 12.40am.

"He was trying to get into the apartment, knocking on the door," said Mrs Fox. "The neighbour looked out as if to say, 'You are waking everybody up'. Rob was afraid that he would wake the kids.

"He was a scaffolder, the window to the bedroom was open and he stood up on the balcony, reached around to get into the bedroom and he fell."

Mrs Fox said the family struggled with language barriers as they tried to deal with medics.

When she arrived in Thailand, the doctors wanted to turn her son's life support off.

The family tried to find someone in Beaumont Hospital who could talk to the doctors. On the eighth day, Mr Robinson moved his head but the family were told this was not possible.

The case was the subject of a major fundraising drive as the family faced mounting medical bills. Mrs Fox told the inquest that the bill for the hospital was "thousands".

The family organised to fly him home on a passenger plane to London and he was taken from there to Beaumont Hospital by air ambulance.


However, he never regained consciousness and died on July 20 following confirmation of brain stem death. Two people were the recipients of organs in the wake of his death.

The post mortem found death was due to severe traumatic head injuries.

Mrs Fox told coroner Dr Brian Farrell that she is "haunted" by the possibility that her son might have recovered.

However, Dr Farrell said the tests carried out at Beaumont confirmed there was "no chance of recovery". He returned a verdict of accidental death.


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