The death of young Australian jockey Timothy Gordon Bell was a “tragic misadventure”, State Coroner Marvin Bay said on Wednesday (Apr 27), ruling out foul play and suicide.
The Singapore-based 22-year-old, who worked as a jockey at the Singapore Turf Club, fell 12 storeys to his death in November last year as he attempted to climb into his condominium unit via an open kitchen window. He had forgotten his keys and brushed off his girlfriend’s suggestion to wait for his housemate to let them in instead.
“The fact that he had consumed alcohol may have made this cause of action more difficult to execute”, Mr Bay noted. Mr Bell had spent the afternoon with his girlfriend and housemate at a Robertson Quay bar, where the trio watched the Melbourne Cup and the jockey drunk eight bottles of beer.
A toxicology report found Mr Bell’s blood-alcohol level was about three times the legal limit, which is 80mg/100ml for drivers.
He lost his balance while attempting to climb his way back into the unit and fell to the ground floor, where he was found lying motionless. The young man was taken by ambulance to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
An autopsy found Mr Bell died from multiple injuries consistent with a fall from a height, including head injuries and multiple fractures.
Mr Bay said the 22-year-old's tragic death “starkly shows the risk involved (when people) who find themselves locked out (attempt to) access (their units) by traversing parapets or other supporting structures” which are not designed to facilitate easy access to units.
In finding that his fall had been an accident, the State Coroner noted that Mr Bell had distinguished himself as an outstanding jockey, was in a loving relationship and had never confessed any suicidal thoughts. Furthermore, no signs of foul play were found, he added.
The State Coroner also expressed his condolences to Mr Bell’s family, who were not present at the hearing.