Mum of Doncaster Radiohead roadie killed by stage roof collapse 'will never forgive' errors that led to death, after inquest reveals failings

The dad of a roadie for rock band Radiohead who died when a stage roof collapsed says his wife will never forgive the failings which led to his death.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 5:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 11:37 am

An inquest in Doncaster today heard how a series of mistakes and construction shortcuts contributed to the collapse of a 70,000lbs roof which struck Doncaster drum engineer Scott Johnson on his head.

Scott had been working on a temporary stage made of scaffolding, which was being assembled around him as he did his job getting the band’s equipment ready for a Radiohead show in Toronto, Canada, when he was hit.

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Scott Johnson. Submitted picture from Ken Johnson

Coroner Nicola Mundy recorded a narrative verdict.

She said: “On June 16 2012, Scott Johnson was working at Downsview Park, Toronto, where a temporary stage was being constructed around him.

“Inadequate technical advice on construction and design, coupled with wholly inadequate construction techniques, led to the collapse of the roof system which caused Mr Johnson’s death.”

A previous inquest heard in Canada had recorded an accidental death verdict, but Ms Mundy said she did not feel that verdict fully reflected the thrust of the evidence.

Scott Johnson. Submitted picture from Ken Johnson.

Scott’s dad Ken Johnson, from Hickleton, is one of the leading experts in scaffolding safety in the UK, as technical advisor to the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation, and gave evidence at his son’s inquest in Doncaster today.

He told how he had to identify his son’s body in a Doncaster undertakers in seven years ago.

He had previously attended and questioned witnesses at a previous inquest, in Canada, which was held after negligence action against concert promoters Live Nation, Optex Staging and Services and the engineer hired to design the stage, Domenic Gulgiari, and their engineer Domenic Gulgiari had been dropped because of Canadian rules related to the amount of time the case was taking.

After the verdict he said: “My wife, Sue, will never forgive them for what happened. My feeling is that I don’t think any of them went out to kill Scott. They went out to do their job, but it wasn’t done very well. I will continue to support any changes to the rules in Canada.

Nicola Mundy

“There were 28 recommendations made for changes to their rules. I want them to prevent any future deaths.

“Scott was a good lad, as good as gold and he always had time for everyone, and he loved his mum to bits.

“He knew everyone in music and would have been chuffed to bits with the support he’s had.”

Friends at the inquest included the Keane musician Richard Hughes, who took time out of a national tour with his band to support Scott’s family.

Doncaster Coroner's Court has a new female coroner, Pictured, Nicola Mundy at her desk: Photo Michael Ford

Summing up the evidence, Ms Mundy had said the design and construction of the scaffold stage had been inherently deficient.

Drawings that had been prepared for the construction by Mr Gulgiari had mistakes in them, and the weight of the roof had been miscalculated. No risk assessment had been carried out, she added.

She said matters were made worse when the crew who were putting the stage together failed to follow the designs they had been given.

She added the people putting the scaffolding up had cut corners when constructing the stage. Not enough couplers had been used to secure parts of the scaffolding, because the team did not have enough, the inquest had heard from Mr Johnson, who took to the witness box.

The result was when an attempt was made to raise the roof at 4pm on the day of the show, it lead to it collapsing and striking Mr Johnson, who suffered a crushing injury of the head and brain. He died shortly after 6pm.