A teenager was hiding her younger sister’s mobile phone when she slipped and plunged four floors to her death in a prank gone “horribly wrong.”
Danielle Maragh had climbed through a ceiling sky-light before falling head-first from the roof of her family home three days after her 17th birthday, an inquest heard.
“Happy go-lucky” student Danielle had been revising for her driving theory test in the attic room she shared with her then 14-year-old old sister, Shauna, on the evening of Monday April 9th this year when she fell just before 9pm, the hearing was told.
Her father Charles Maragh, 48, told the inquest: “She was quite happy in life, always doing stuff.
“She never missed a day at school. She was just a normal teenager really.
“That day she was quite excited because she was sending away for a provisional licence.
“She didn’t even want to come out with us for lunch because she wanted to stay at home to study her theory.
“I think it was eight or nine o’clock, she came in our room, was talking.
“She and a friend had fallen out and I was saying ‘you’ll get back together;’ she was saying ‘I don’t care.’
“About half an hour later I just heard some tumbling. Then my window smashed and I looked out and I saw her on the floor outside in front and I just ran down the stairs.”
He told St Pancras Coroner’s Court that Danielle and Shauna’s room, which was in the fourth floor attic in Holloway, north London, had a sky-light window which she would need a ladder to climb on to.
Mr Maragh said he found his daughter unresponsive and he could only detect her breathing by putting his hand in her mouth.
Paramedics were called at 8.58pm but she was pronounced dead at the scene at 9.33pm.
Senior Coroner for Inner North London Mary Hassell, reading 15-year-old Shauna’s statement, said she had left her grey iPhone7 on the pillows of her bed when she left Danielle in their room and went downstairs to do the washing up.
Deborah Maragh, Danielle’s auntie who also lived in the house, said in a statement: “I would describe Danielle as a normal, happy go lucky teenager.
“She was happy and was planning her 18th birthday.
“There seemed to be nothing wrong with her; if she had a problem she couldn’t talk to her dad about, she could always come to me.”
PC Brian Simmons said in a statement that a “rope search team” found Shauna’s grey iPhone when they examined the roof of the home six days after her death.
Recording the death as a tragic “accident”, Ms Hassell said: “What I have heard is that, just in the way of teenagers, she and her sister used to play jokes on each other and hide their things, for example their phones.
“And, very significantly, after Danielle’s death her sister’s phone was found on the roof.
“It seems to me that all of the evidence points in the same direction which is that she was just playing a prank on her sister that went horribly wrong.
“It’s such an innocent joke that she was trying to play, and it just had the most awful consequences.
“I think it was the work of the moment but she slipped and she fell to the ground below.
“Given her injuries that she had I’m sure that she would have lost consciousness immediately and she would have been unaware thereafter.”
She added: “When I saw the photograph of Danielle’s bedroom window my first thought was that she must have intended her death because it seems so unlikely that she could have fallen out of the window by accident.
“However, what I’ve heard is that she was a happy teenager.
“She was on good form on the day of her death, she was excited about learning to drive, she had no problems at school, at home or in any other way.
“I’ve no hesitation in saying that this was an accident.”
The Coroner expressed her condolences to Danielle’s “very close” family at the inquest which was attended by relatives and close friends.
The coroner said a post mortem examination found Danielle’s medical cause of death was “severe traumatic head injury.”
A pathologist’s report stated: “There were signs of devastating trauma that were wholly incompatible with life.
“All findings were consistent with a fall from a significant height, most likely a head first impact.”