Young Norwich musician Tom Richardson died trying to escape fire in his flat, coroner rules

Tom Richardson, who died after a fire at his flat in Holls Lane, Norwich, with his daughter River Tom Richardson, who died after a fire at his flat in Holls Lane, Norwich, with his daughter River

Thursday, April 3, 2014
4:19 PM

The mother of a young musician who died after trying to escape a fire in his flat has spoken of her relief after an inquest heard he did not deliberately jump.

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The scene of the fatal fire in Holls Lane, Norwich. Photo: Bill SmithThe scene of the fatal fire in Holls Lane, Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Tom Richardson, a singer-songwriter who performed at The Waterfront and The Brickmakers, and busked in the city centre, died after falling from his top floor flat just days before his 21st birthday.

The fire broke out in the flat in Holls Lane, Norwich, in the early hours of July 21, last year.

Coroner Jacqueline Lake yesterday recorded that he suffered fatal injuries while trying to escape a fire in his flat, and ruled out any third-party involvement.

Speaking after the inquest at Norwich Coroner’s Court, Mr Richardson’s mother, Doreen, said: “We were very keen to establish there were no suspicious circumstances.

Flowers laid outside Mr Richardson's flat.Flowers laid outside Mr Richardson's flat.

“It was made very clear by the neighbour that he was trying to slide out of the window and escape. He would never have left his daughter. In that sense, it has given us closure. It is good the law has reaffirmed that. It’s good for his daughter to know that as well.”

She said the fire was a tragic accident which could not have been foreseen.

She added that he had been looking forward to his daughter River’s first birthday the following month.

Mr Richardson’s elder brothers, Dan and James, accompanied their mother to the hearing, and James spoke warmly of his “bubbly” younger brother, and how he had inspired and touched many people.

Mr Richardson, a former student at Wymondham College, played in the Norwich band Uncle Stash, with whom he appeared on BBC Radio Norfolk’s Introducing show in 2009.

His mother said: “We had his burial service at Colney Wood. I think from the number of young people who turned up he was very much loved. There was a huge turnout. We tried to turn it into a celebration of his life.”

She added: “He was a modest young man, quite unassuming.

“I don’t think he realised the effect he had on people, which makes it all the more tragic.

“He was taken three days before his 21st birthday. He had so much to live for.”

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