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Ben Leonard: Scouts reported to police after teen killed wrongfully

  • Teen falls, dies on hike
  • Scouts’ negligence under investigation
  • Family demands external regulation

Police may investigate whether the Scout Association attempted to obstruct justice after the death of a teenager on a hike.

Ben Leonard, 16, from a group visiting Llandudno’s Great Orme, fell from cliffs at a height of 200 feet (60 metres).

An inquest jury found a leader and his assistant guilty of unlawful killing, with the Scout Association’s negligence also contributing.

The organisation denied “any criminal action” in its statement.

Ben, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, had planned to climb Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) during his August 2018 trip.

Due to bad weather, the group was redirected to Llandudno in Conwy County to climb the Orme.

Ben and two other boys left the main path and attempted an unsupervised climb. Ben died from fatal head injuries after slipping off a narrow ledge.

Assistant coroner David Pojur referred the Scouts and an employee (anonymously per court order) to the police for a potential conspiracy to obstruct justice.

North Wales Police confirmed a review of the referral but could not comment on details.

The referral remained unknown to jurors, and media were barred from reporting it until after the verdict.

Requests to indefinitely extend reporting restrictions were denied after media challenges.

The referral concerns the initial inquest into Ben’s death, which began in 2020 but was halted for unrelated legal reasons.

The Scouts stated they “absolutely” refute any allegations of criminal activity.

The jury was told the trip lacked a documented risk assessment, and no safety briefings were given by leaders Sean Glaister and Mary Carr.

The absence of a senior leader meant no Scout-accredited first aiders were present.

The inquest examined whether the trip’s approval was appropriate.

Mr. Glaister admitted the Scout Association never monitored his activities or ensured he completed necessary training.

Bernard Richmond KC, representing Ben’s family, suggested the Scouts left Mr. Glaister unsupported.

Jennie Price, from the Scout Association, said they take the verdict seriously and have already improved risk assessments, safety rules, training, and volunteer support.

The Scouts apologized to Ben’s family at the inquest’s start, acknowledging their duty of care breach and responsibility for his death.

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Police described “grave failings” and missed chances to prevent the tragedy.

Ben’s family heard from the jury, “No one can touch the Scouts,” and challenging the organisation was futile.

Ben’s mother, Jackie Leonard, expressed relief that her son can now rest, describing the family’s prolonged wait for a death certificate.

She criticized the Scouts for portraying Ben negatively and called for external regulation of the organisation.

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