Coroner records verdict of accidental death for former Cirencester Kingshill student who was found dying in Oxfordshire park
THE grieving sister of a former Cirencester Kingshill School student who was found dying in an Oxford park last year says his death has not yet sunk in.
Tom Franklin, 23, who spent his teenage years in Cirencester, was found in the Hinksey Park allotments with serious injuries to his head and upper body on Saturday, September 21.
Tom’s death came almost seven years after his 21-year-old brother James was killed in a car crash. His family paid tribute to Tom this week and spoke about coping with the loss of both brothers.
An inquest at Oxford Coroner’s Court on Wednesday, March 26, heard Tom had been on a night out in the city before being found unconscious under a tree the next morning.
His girlfriend Amie Phillips called the police at around 5.30am when he had not arrived back at their home.
Tom was found, without his shoes but with his phone and wallet still in his pockets, by a dog walker at around 8am.
He was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in the city where he died two hours later.
Pathologist Benjamin Swift told the inquest the levels of alcohol in Tom’s blood were “not significantly high” and he had suffered broken ribs, arm fractures, and a fractured skull.
Nicholas Graham, assistant coroner for Oxfordshire, recorded a verdict of accidental death.
He said: “It might have been a mistake or misjudgement when Tom was climbing a tree in the park.
“There is a question mark as to how on earth he got up that tree, but I know he was a very experienced climber.”
Tom’s mum Jill Parker, from Cirencester, said: “Tom, from an early age, has been a bit of a monkey. He was very balanced and very calculating. He looked at the risk before he took it.
“He probably passed that tree a hundred times wondering how he could get up it.”
After the inquest his sister, Sarah Pierce, 29, said: “Death is a funny thing, especially when you have gone through it so much, I don’t even think it has sunk in.
“So many people have felt the impact of Tom being lost and gone forever. How do you move past something like that? My son came downstairs last night crying his eyes out saying ‘I just thought about Uncle Tom, I didn’t want him to die.’”
Tom was known by friends for his love of calisthenics, a form of outdoor gymnastics where people use objects like children’s playgrounds as gym equipment.