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  • .News

    July 14, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Shop hoarding that fell off betting shop killing man in his 20s ‘came loose after pigeon spikes were fitted’

    A betting shop sign that killed a pedestrian when it ripped off in high winds may have been weakened after maintenance carried out before Christmas, it was claimed today. The sign on the William Hill betting shop crashed down on top of the passerby in Camden Road, north London, just before 5pm last night splitting his head open. The victim, in his 20s and from New Zealand, suffered a cardiac arrest. He was treated at the scene but died later in University College Hospital.

    Hoarding was put up around a bookmakers in north London today

    The bookmakers was closed today as health and safety officials started to inspect the scene for clues

    It is feared that the hoarding may have fallen from the front of the building after coming loose in high winds

    Flowers were today left at the scene of the tragic accident as it emerged maintenance work may have taken place on the building before Christmas

    Friends at the scene in Camden left an emotional tribute to the victim, named on a written tribute as ‘Jacko’. The group of three women and a man left a card and flowers in front of the Camden William Hill store this afternoon about 2.30pm
    Visibly distraught, the group also left a New Zealand flag as a tribute to their friend, who suffered a cardiac arrest and died shortly after being rushed to hospital.

    The moving written tribute, left amongst other bouquets of flowers at the scene, said: ‘This is not how it was supposed to go. We had so many good plans and so many good memories. I promise never to forget you.’ Today pensioner Dave Preston who lives above the betting shop claimed the fascia board could have been weakened by pigeon spikes put up there. The 68-year-old, who has lived above the shop for 45 years, said: ‘I was in the kitchen and I heard what sounded like an explosion, I didn’t know what to think, I thought it could have been the gas.

    Police have cordoned off the scene and are currently carrying out an investigation

    Shock: Police cordon off the area when minutes earlier paramedics had battled to revive the man crushed by falling debris as he walked

    Investigation:The scene outside the Camden Road William Hill betting shop, after a man was killed by a falling sign

    The man was treated at the scene in Camden Road for a head injury and transferred to hospital where he later died, London Ambulance Service said

    ‘I looked outside and saw this poor guy lying there. He must have been about 26, he was lying motionless, his head all open, the blood was terrible. ‘I just felt sorry for his parents or girlfriend or maybe wife I don’t know. It is just tragic to think about, such a young life.’ Other witnesses have also spoken of the tragic scene.
    Ken Osbourne, 28, who works in Woody Grill next to the betting shop said: ‘I saw the guy lying down in the road, covered in blood. ‘The main impact was clearly on his head. the blood was mainly around his head. I saw them trying to resuscitate him in the back of the ambulance.’ Shopkeeper Fazle Elahi, who works opposite the scene and was on the scene to witness the aftermath, told the Camden New Journal: ‘The ambulance came really quickly. It looked like the William Hill sign had hit him. A woman at the scene was crying. He wasn’t moving.’

    Cordoned off: Police are now carrying out a detailed forensic examination of the scene in Camden Road, north London, for clues about what caused the fatal incident

    Distraught: Flowers have been laid at the scene where the young man was killed by a falling shop hoarding in Camden Road

    Horror: Paramedics fought to save the man after he was hit by a sign from a William Hill shop, pictured, in Camden, north London

    Ioana Nita, 21, was working at a nearby restaurant when the accident happened at 4.55pm.

    ‘I’m shocked. We heard a very loud noise. Me and a colleague went outside and saw the guy lying on the floor,’ she said.

    ‘Five guys picked up the sign and it was put on the side. His hands were covered in blood and he wasn’t moving.’ ‘Lots of people were in a circle around him, then the ambulance arrived and they were trying to get him back to life, pressing on his heart.’

    Tragic: The young victim was walking past this William Hill bookmakers, pictured with its hoarding in place, in Camden Road, north London

    She added: ‘I just want to go home and cry. I don’t know how that can happen. The sign is huge. Everyone said he was just walking past the shop.’ ‘I cross that way five times a day. That could have been me.’

    A nearby worker added: ‘It was the centre of Camden during the rush hour. It’s a horrible day, raining and windy. It looks like the entire front facade of William Hill was blown off and hit the man.’

    Pictures of the scene show the twisted large blue frontage of the shop stretching across the pavement. A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: ‘An ambulance crew who were close to the incident were on the scene very quickly with another medic in responder car.

    ‘Extensive efforts were made to resuscitate him both at the scene and on way to hospital. He was taken to University College Hospital as a priority on blue lights.’
    A Met Police spokesman said: ‘Officers and London Ambulance Service attended and the man, believed aged in his 20s, has been taken to a central London hospital for treatment – he died there a short while later.

    ‘At this early stage it appears the man received his injuries after being struck by sign or board which has fallen from a building.’

    Police have cordoned off the scene and are currently carrying out an investigation.
    Camden Council has also confirmed it is launching an investigation into what caused the sign to fall. Camden Council’s cabinet member for community safety, Councillor Abdul Hai, said: ‘This is tragic incident and our thoughts are with the victim’s family at this sad time.’

    ‘Our health and safety and building control teams attended the scene immediately to take the necessary action to make sure there was no further danger to the public from the building.

    ‘We are helping the police secure the site so that we can gather evidence as part of our formal investigation which starts tomorrow.’

    A William Hill spokeswoman said: ‘There is an urgent investigation under way and we are still establishing facts and liaising with authorities.’

    A spokeswoman from the New Zealand High Commission confirmed the man, who is yet to be formally identified, was a New Zealand national. She said the commission had been in touch with his family back home who had asked for privacy.

    ‘We are aware of the death. The High Commission has been providing consular assistance to the family, who have requested their privacy be respected at this time.’ ‘It’s understood the family is in New Zealand.’