BRITISH tourist Colin Wild fell to his death down a flight of stone steps while searching for a toilet in a Costa Blanca café-bar, a UK inquest heard.
On September 20 two years ago, Mr Wild aged 74 from Ilkley in Yorkshire, was at enjoying a Saga hotel break with his wife Ann at the coastal resort of Denia.
Later evidence suggested Mr Wild had mistaken a door that opened directly onto steep basement steps for the nearby toilet, and although the family questioned why the door was not locked for security, the Denia police authority would not release full details of their investigation and declared the case closed.
Ann Wild reluctantly returned to the UK determined to obtain answers to her many questions surrounding the death of her husband.
After over two years of legal wrangling, in February this year, through direct intervention by the British Consul, the Wild family finally managed to obtain a court order forcing Denia police to release their official report complete with photographs, that would allow a long awaited inquest to take place into the death of Mr Wild. Subsequently on March 2nd a Bradford Court heard Acting Coroner Professor Paul Marks inform the family that a post-mortem examination carried out in Spain, found his father had died from severe head injuries due to a fall.
The Spanish police report read out at the inquest, said it appeared Mr Wild had mistaken a door marked private on a piece of paper in Spanish for the toilet facilities, and had fallen down a steep flight of stone steps.
The toilet was actually located up separate steps directly to the right of the cellar door. The report also recorded that the door, which led to a storage area, should have been locked and the keys kept in the kitchen.
It had been the chef who made the grim discovery of the body.
The Deputy Coroner eventually returned a verdict of accidental death, but informed the family that his findings did not preclude any action they may wish to take against the owners of the Spanish café/bar business During the proceedings, the court heard Mr Wild’s son Martin give evidence on behalf of his mother, saying that his father had decided to look for a toilet in a pavement cafe where the couple were enjoying a coffee, but changed his mind when he realised the interior was a cyber-cafe with an confusing array of messages and decided to look elsewhere.
When after some time he failed to return, his mother searched various venue’s in the vicinity, finally discovering her husband had been found dead with severe head injuries in a café/bar situated in Denia’s main busy shopping area.
Mrs Wild stated that after identifying herself, she was “forcibly prevented” from seeing her husband by being “pushed down” into a seat for around an hour until the medics had completed their task.
The following day she returned to the UK.
Later, Mr Wild’s son Martin and 17-year-old grandson visited Denia to see if they could find any direct explanation for the unfortunate incident.
They visited the scene of the accident, and after some discussion, were eventually allowed access to the cellar steps to lay a tribute of red roses, where they discovered that immediately on opening the door, the first step dropped by around 350 cm deep (12inches) with the remaining flight disappearing down to the basement.
Visibility depended on whether a light was switched on or off.
(See photograph) Martin Wild told the EWN, ‘It’s been a long hard struggle and extremely painful for my mother and all the family.
But thanks to the British Consul, we are now able to move forward and take appropriate civil action against the business owners.’
He also said he would like to thank the British Honorary Consul in Denia Mark Petrie, for supporting his mother during her most difficult time.