Locked out of his flat, man fell while trying to climb in through kitchen window

SINGAPORE - A 61-year-old man fell to his death when he tried to climb into his sixth-storey flat through the open kitchen window using a makeshift support, the coroner's court heard.

He died from multiple injuries at 2.07pm on March 11, 2017.

Directly above Mr Foo Chee Ching's body beside the foot of Block 1 Holland Close was his T-shirt lashed to secure a bamboo pole at the sixth-floor corridor railing.

At an inquest into his death on Tuesday (Aug 29), the court heard that cleaner Kadir Abdul was driving his utility vehicle at the foot of Block 1 at about 1.30pm that day when a bamboo pole fell.

He looked up and saw Mr Foo standing alone on the sixth-floor corridor railing, holding onto another bamboo pole, and trying to connect it with the pole holder fixture beneath his window.

Mr Kadir told Mr Foo not to throw any bamboo pole down, to which Mr Foo mumbled in Chinese .

Blood and urine samples from Mr Foo indicated the presence of drugs that could have caused drowsiness and giddiness.

Police camera footage showed that Mr Foo had been going up to the sixth floor with bamboo poles in his hands, and coming down to the ground floor no less than three times within the hour.

In his findings, State Coroner Marvin noted that the footage also documented Mr Foo's "tentative and unsteady gait'', and at one point, his balance was questionable, and he appeared to be walking backwards.

No keys were found on Mr Foo's body nor inside the locked flat.

Coroner Bay, who found his death to be an "unfortunate misadventure, said Mr Foo had likely in his disorientated and drug-compromised state, slipped and fallen, while attempting to ford the 1.2m-gap between the ledge and his window.

"Mr Foo, in his ill-advised and intrepid attempt to regain access to his own apartment, had upon this fall, sustained severe injuries, which proved fatal,'' he said.

Mr Foo's case, like three other similar ones he had heard, starkly show the risks involved when persons who find themselves locked out of their apartments, act impulsively to regain access by traversing parapets, balconies or other supporting structures to get in.

"It is plain that these improvised manoeuvres are highly dangerous, as these structures are certainly not purposefully designed to facilitate easy access for re-entry into their units.

"Persons who find themselves locked out should either call their family members and relatives for help to regain access, or call a locksmith if they live alone,'' said Coroner Bay.