Young man tragically plummeted 40 feet to his death after night out in Rochester

An asset management lead plunged 40 feet to his death after a night out in Rochester.

Rory Baldwin, 25, took a tragic wrong turn in the early hours of October 31 after leaving his friends.

An inquest held at Archbishops Palace in Maidstone this afternoon (October 27) heard how extra safety measures have since been put in place following the death to prevent future incidents.

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Detective Sergeant Matthew Childs of Kent Police told assistant coroner Catherine Wood how Rory, who lived in Surrey, had taken a train to Rochester on July 30 to socialise with some friends before an event held that weekend.

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His train arrived at around 7.30pm that day, where he had a light meal before heading to a pub on the high street.

“Rory drank throughout the evening with a friend before reaching out to other friends who were in Rochester high street,” Det Supt Childs said.

Rochester High Street

“At around 12.30am on Saturday (July 31) he arranged to meet them before a decision was made to go to a premises just off the esplanade.

Last contact

“Two of the friends did not want to walk and got a taxi, while Rory, and a group of others, did walk.”

During the walk, Rory told his friends that he had to go to the toilet, so peeled away from the rest of the group.

He said he would catch them up shortly, and the group agreed to meet just off the esplanade.

However, after one additional phone call confirming their intentions to reconvene, that was the last successful contact made between Rory and his friends.

Concerns began to grow the following morning when Rory’s friends woke up to no new messages from him.

He was reported missing at 6.10pm on Saturday July 31, which led to Kent Police trying to establish if Rory had been on the move through credit card transactions or CCTV footage, however these attempts were unsuccessful.

Due to the area’s closeness to the River Medway, search and rescue teams were also called on.

However, just after 7pm on July 31, Kent Police received a phone call from a resident on Oliver Twist Close who said she saw a trainer in the gutter of a neighbouring property.

This was later confirmed to match the brand and colour of the shoes worn by Rory on that day.

Rory was found by police at the rear of the property lying on his side and was pronounced dead at the scene on August 1.

Det Supt Childs told the inquest of the events which unfolded in Rory’s final moments.

“It appears that Rory took a wrong turn after entering Fort Clarence Gardens,” he said.

“On the edge of the Gardens there is a fence which is about three metres in height with a sign on top of it warning of danger.

“Rory either jumped the fence or walked through the gate to the side of it.”

The sign positioned on top of the fence read ‘keep out steep drop, however it could not clearly be read due to undergrowth.

Det Supt Childs also added that it is possible Rory was using his mobile phone with the torch function enabled due to poor lighting.

After passing the fence, Rory suffered a fall of around 40 feet which saw him drop straight onto Oliver Twist Close below.

Tracy Nembhard of London and Quadrant Housing Trust, who own the land which the fence sits on, indicated improvements have been made to secure the area.

“We have ordered six new signs which are reflective and we also plan to position one of the signs before you would reach the fence,” she said.

“We have reached an agreement with the council to access the surrounding land since the death and plan to make inspections every six months.

“The first of these is planned for December, but we would inspect the area when erecting signs in four to six weeks.

‘Absolutely brilliant son’

Rory’s mum, Karen Baldwin, told the court how much her son meant to her.

Rory Baldwin

“He was an absolutely brilliant son,” she said.

“He had spent two years in Canada with his brother and came back due to COVID.

“He had so many people that loved him and had secured a really good job at Thames Water.

“He had a really good social life, he was just the best.”

In her concluding statement, assistant coroner Wood declared the death as an “accident”.

Article Source: Kent Live