Inquest concludes into death of man who fell from tree in London after police callout

Published: 24 Mar 2023

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers who engaged with a man who had climbed a tree before falling to his death were not at fault for the man’s death, our investigation has found.

An inquest, which ended on Thursday 23 March at Inner West London Coroner’s Court, has concluded that 46-year-old Daniel Lyle’s death was accidental, as a result of falling from a tree in Pimlico, London in March 2020.

Our investigation established that on 20 March 2020, members of public made multiple calls to police to report a man “attacking people, throwing metal bins around/pushing them over, throwing ‘stuff’ at the bin men, and kicking rubbish” at around 8.30am on a housing estate.

As officers approached Mr Lyle, he climbed from a wall into a tree at the estate.
They called for assistance from the fire and ambulance services and attempted to reason with Mr Lyle to come down for approximately 15 minutes, during which time he climbed to the top of the tree and refused to move.

Tragically, Mr Lyle fell from the tree and, despite the efforts of emergency services, was pronounced dead at the scene.

We began our investigation the same day, after we received a mandatory referral from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). We looked at the police response to the 999 calls made and officers’ subsequent contact Mr Lyle.

We established that 12 officers attended the incident. Prior to Mr Lyle’s fall from the tree, officers considered multiple options in order to protect his life, including:
• Requesting a trained negotiator to deal with the incident
• Considering materials that could be used to break his fall, should they have been needed
• Requesting the assistance of London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service
• Retrieving a first aid kit from the police car in case officers needed to provide first aid

Our investigation, which concluded in June 2020, found no evidence to suggest the cause of Mr Lyle’s death was attributable to the actions of any of the officers involved. We found that no officer behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings or had committed a criminal offence.

IOPC Director Amanda Rowe said: “Our thoughts remain with Mr Lyle’s family and friends and all those affected by his death.

“This was a tragic incident and the inquest findings have agreed with our conclusion that the actions of the officers did not cause or contribute to his death.
“We carried out a thorough investigation into the circumstances of his death and found the officers involved acted appropriately.”

The incident happened just before the Covid-19 lockdown, so IOPC investigators attended the post-incident procedures at Belgravia police station and managed the scene remotely.

We obtained statements from all police officers who attended the incident and from members of the public who called the police and witnessed what happened.
Police body worn video and mobile phone footage provided by members of the public was also analysed.

  • Death and serious injury
  • Welfare and vulnerable people