The death of a man killed by a piece of falling masonry as he sat at a London restaurant was an accident, an inquest jury has ruled.
Peter Westropp died in front of his friends at the terrace area of Le Bouchon Bordelais (pictured), a French restaurant and bar in Battersea, on 10 August last year.
He had suffered "devastating head injuries" and was pronounced dead at the scene, Westminster deputy coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said after a statement from the London Ambulance Service showed that Westropp suffered a "large, open head injury on the top of the back of his head".
Pathologists professor Sebastian Lucas and Dr Yasir Alwahab, who performed the post-mortem examination on Westropp, told the inquest that the cause of death was a head injury. They said his skull was "broken in an eggshell manner".
The jury returned a verdict of accidental death and said the specific cause of the falling masonry could not be determined, reported the Press Association.
The stability of ornamental stones attached to the front of the 130-year-old building had been "degraded" over time due to both the absence of and corrosion of metal ties, they said, but the weight of a safety chain securing a canopy to the front of the restaurant may also have had a destabilising influence.
The inquest had been told that a collision between a car and a quad bike had caused damage to the restaurant months before the incident.
Dr Radcliffe paid tribute to Mr Westropp and said she planned to contact the relevant authorities to encourage "more preventative measures" to identify potentially dangerous buildings.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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