'Well-loved' man, 26, died falling 40ft on night out after trying to rejoin pals using shortcut

A YOUNG man plunged 40 feet to his death on a night out as he tried to catch up with his friends, an inquest has heard.

Rory Baldwin, 26, had been with pals in Rochester, Kent when he vanished after leaving a pub.

A huge search was launched, but tragically his body was later found at the bottom of a cliff in the seaside town.

Today, a coroner heard he may have taken a wrong turn in the dark as he took a short cut to catch up after using the toilet, Kent Online reports.

And the court heard he may have failed to spot a sign warning of the steep drop as it was barely visible and covered by foliage.

Mr Baldwin had grown up in the area but later moved away for work. He returned on July 30 to visit friends.

The group dined at swanky eatery The Vines and visited pubs along the High Street before planning to head to a friend's house for a party.

However, at some point Mr Baldwin was left behind while using the toilet.

Pals called him shortly after 1am to find out where he was, but he didn't answer his phone.

He was reported missing the following evening when repeated attempts to contact him failed.

Tragically, his body was found at the foot of a cliff off Oliver Twist Close after a neighbour spotted his trainer on the roof of a shed.

The location lies moments from The Esplanade, where the party was due to take place.

A post-mortem examination found he'd suffered severe blunt trauma injuries to his chest, including fractured ribs and a severe haemorrhage.

Toxicology reports found levels of alcohol in his blood which were below the drink-drive limit and traces of cocaine. Neither were contributing factors, although they may have impaired his decisions, it was heard.

Coroner Catherine Wood said she thought Mr Baldwin had taken a "wrong turn" as he tried to find his friends.


She said police had "tried very hard" to find Mr Baldwin after he vanished – but said by the time the search began, it was already too late.

Detective Sergeant Matthew Chiles said he believed Mr Baldwin had been trying to use the torch on his phone.

However, even if the beam had been illuminated, he may have climbed the fence believing there was solid ground on the other side, he said.

"It appears that Rory took a wrong turn," he told the inquest.

"There is a fence which is about three metres in height with a sign on top of it warning of danger.

"Rory either jumped the fence or walked through the gate to the side of it."

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Baldwin's mum Karen said her son was a "happy, go-lucky and caring guy”.

He was happy, go-lucky and caring – people adored him

“He had so many friends and people adored him,” she said.

“People at the funeral said he was the glue and he loved to socialise.

“He always got people together and organised things.

“He worried about me but was a real live wire and played football and rugby and ran.”

And she said her son “had everything sorted with a good job”.

“He was larger than life – not in your face and he was sensible, but just liked to have fun and everyone to be happy," she said.

She thanked all those who tried to find Mr Baldwin after he disappeared, and said she was left "humbled and amazed" by their efforts.

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