A POLICE officer fell to his death after he slipped off a notorious ledge while attempting to climb Scafell Pike, an inquest heard.

Christopher Ince, from Tadworth in Surrey, sustained multiple injuries after he plunged from Broad Stand while climbing England’s highest mountain with friends as part of the Three Peaks Challenge.

The hearing was told that the former scout and his friends got lost as they made their way up the mountain from Eskdale on August 29 last year.

The inquest heard Mr Ince was leading his two friends up the fell when they became disorientated and found themselves in a particularly ‘dangerous area’ on Broad Stand - also known by mountain rescuers as an accident black spot.

Giving evidence in a statement Mr Ince’s friend, Benjamin Watson, said his climbing colleague was standing just six feet from him when he suddenly slipped and fell.

Mr Watson told the hearing he ran to the edge of the precipice and started to shout and scream for help.

The inquest heard that the climbing party had earlier been warned by a doctor that the route they were taking was not safe.

Dr Philip Behan, from Carlisle, who was walking with his partner nearby, said he did not see Mr Ince fall but heard Mr Watson’s screams and returned to where he had last seen the group.

He was the first to find Mr Ince’s body and called 999.

In his statement he said there were multiple injuries on Mr Ince’s body including his head, neck and pelvis and he could not find a pulse.

Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team were called by the police as was the Great North Air Ambulance and a coastguard helicopter.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Ince had suffered severe fractures to his head and body which resulted in his death.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Robert Chapman said: “It is clear from the evidence they were looking for a safe way down but picked a difficult and dangerous area.”

Mr Chapman said the weather conditions were good and added: “The mountain rescue team came to the scene as quickly as possible but nothing could be done.”

Mr Ince's family said at the end of the hearing that they were 'eternally grateful' to everyone who helped on the day and couldn't thank the mountain rescue team enough for the work they did.