Man Accidentally Killed by Best Friend in Prank Gone Wrong at Essex TopGolf

Conner Groom
Conner Groom (left) and a representational image of a TopGolf. Twitter

A British man's 2022 death after falling over 12 feet at a TopGolf in Essex as a result of being pushed by a friend has been ruled as accidental in a recent inquest.

On Thursday, May 23, Essex senior coroner Lincoln Brookes ruled Conner Groom died by misadventure, as reported by BBC News and Essex Live.

According to the coroner's guide, death by misadventure occurs "from some deliberate human act which unexpectedly and unintentionally goes wrong."

Groom was Pushed as a Prank During Christmas Party

The accident occurred as a result of "inebriated but not malicious horseplay" the coroner's report read, per BBC. Groom fell about 12 feet after being pushed over a safety net by his best friend at a TopGolf location in Chigwell, Essex, on Dec. 21, 2021.

The pair were at a Christmas party where their group was reportedly "drinking heavily" when his best friend pushed him as a prank. Per Essex Live, video footage shows the group of friends in good spirits, jokingly trying to push each other onto the safety net before Groom fell.

"A number of times it shows the friends trying to push each other into the safety netting. It was plainly seen as a joke," Detective Inspector Lydia George said during the inquest. She also noted that staff at the golfing location came up to the group and asked them to stop "messing around."

Groom Died Due to Traumatic Cervical Spinal Cord Injury and Brain Injury Suffered from the Fall

Groom sustained a traumatic cervical spinal cord injury and a hypoxic brain injury from the 12-foot fall. He was rushed to Royal London Hospital, where he spent a month before he died on Jan. 25, 2022. In his ruling, Brookes said that per evidence, the "last thing" Groom's friend wanted was for him to die.

Per a safety officer at the inquest, TopGolf has "improved its staff training around potential health risks" for its staff after Groom's death, BBC News reported.Additionally, if a guest were to be seen pushing someone into the safety netting they would be removed.