Teenager killed 'almost instantly' by 11,000 volt shock while playing football in Chorley


Teenager killed 'almost instantly' by 11,000 volt shock while playing football in Chorley

A "talented" teenage footballer was killed "almost instantly" when he was electrocuted while playing with his friends, an inquest has heard.

Luke Bennett, 17, was struck by 11,000 volts when a metal pole he was holding above his head touched, or make close contact with, an overhead power line as he played football.

Despite initially standing up after the shock the academy youth player with AFC Fylde, collapsed and died at Euxton Villa FC near Chorley on 6 March 2021.

An inquest into his death, at County Hall in Preston, heard Luke, who was described as the "life and soul of the party" with an "infectious personality" had met with seven of his friends and spent most of the day having a kick-about.

At around 6pm three of the boys - Luke, Lewis Geszke and Ben Wilcock - began 'messing about' with a metal pole used to separate the subs bench from the pitch.

As they tried to straighten the pole a huge current surged through the metal and threw all three teenagers to the ground.

Luke, an AFC Fylde youth footballer from Chorley, initially stood up after the shock but his horrified friends watched on as he then collapsed to the ground.

Lewis and Ben were unconscious for a short period before waking up to see CPR being performed on Luke.

But, despite efforts of paramedics and a doctor, Luke's heart had "completely stopped" and he died at around 6.48pm.

The inquest heard Luke's heart had been damaged to such an extent - and his friends had been warned not to touch him because of the voltage - he had little chance of surviving.

Luke's dad Thomas told the inquest his son was a talented footballer who had spent time at the academies at Blackburn Rovers, Burnley FC and Preston North End before starting to play for AFC Fylde as a winger.

"He was very much the life and soul," Mr Bennett told Area Coroner Kate Bisset. "His personality was really quite infectious.

"He was very out-going and was riding a bike before you were supposed to. He just got on with things."

Mr Bennett, who himself was a former professional footballer for Wolverhampton Wanderers, described how despite only really getting into football at the age of 13, Luke immediately showed promise and also excelled at other sports including tennis, trampolining and swimming.

"It was amazing how he could do something without any real practice, he was that kind of lad," Mr Bennett said.

"He just seemed to excel at pretty much all sports. He played at Blackburn for a bit, then he signed for Burnley and also at Preston.

"He came through the academy system a bit later than most, when he was 13 or 14, so his learning curve was very steep.

"He ended up finding a place at AFC Fylde at 16 and he loved it. He was a winger but as long as he could score goals and be at the centre of the action he was happy."

Mr Bennett described the run-up to the tragic events. "He always asked us to take him to a friend's house or to play football somewhere at Buckshaw or Euxton," Luke's dad said.

"I said I'd take him and pick him up. I dropped him off, up the drive, which I've done dozens of times."

The coroner asked Mr Bennett how he and his wife, along with Luke's older brother Dylan, were doing since his death.

"Day by day," he replied as he began to cry. "It hasn't been easy."

The inquest is set to conclude today, Wednesday.

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