Nelson teen dies after cathedral roof plunge

STACEY KNOTT
Last updated 11:08 28/07/2014
Karen Healey
'LOVELY KID': Finn O'Neill-Stevens.

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A Nelson teenager has died after falling through a cathedral roof in Wellington.

Former Nelson College student Finn O'Neill-Stevens, 18, died yesterday at Wellington Hospital after the fall on Friday night.

It is understood two young men climbed on to the roof of the Loaves and Fishes Hall at St Pauls' Cathedral, on Molesworth St, Thorndon, when one of them then fell through a glass skylight.

St Paul's Cathedral Dean Digby Wilkinson, who lives next door, said he heard yelling and screaming about 11.30pm and got up to discover what had happened.

A Wellington Free Ambulance spokeswoman confirmed paramedics attended. The man was taken to Wellington Hospital, and he died later.

Wilkinson said the families were in their prayers.

Police said the incident was not suspicious.

Detective Senior Sergeant Warwick McKee said it appeared O'Neill-Stevens fell through the roof of a room attached to the cathedral.

"There were a couple of skylights on the roof of the building. It appears as though the young man had fallen through a skylight."

He said it was a 10-metre fall.

O'Neill-Stevens was with a friend who has been spoken to and offered counselling and support from Wellington police.

Wellington Free Ambulance spokesman Daniel Paul said the victim sustained "very serious injuries".

O'Neill-Stevens was in his first year at Victoria University where he played for the Victoria University Hockey Club.

He had also played hockey while at Nelson College. He was in year 13 at the college last year.

Nelson College headmaster Gary O'Shea said O'Neill-Stevens was a popular student.

"There are a number of staff who are very upset.

"He was a lovely kid, with a great sense of humour."

O'Shea said O'Neill-Stevens was interested in climbing and was in the school hockey team.

"[He was] an all-round good guy. He played sport, was a good leader and mentor.

"He worked well in class and got along with students and teachers alike."

"For a school it's hard...you just don't expect life to get cut short like that."

He said the school would be offering counselling and support to any of the boys who had a connection to him and the school would be represented at a service for him.

Nelson man Merv Ward was a close friend to O'Neill-Stevens' father. He was in Wellington over the weekend to offer support to the family.

He said O'Neill-Stevens was a "nice young lad" and his family were very upset. Friends had written messages of condolences on his Facebook wall, where they had listed fond memories of him.

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Wesley Harris posted, "I will always remember you.

"You were with me right through primary, you were in my hockey team, you put up with me for a week skiing last year and that my dear friend, takes effort. Im sorry."

Richard Tidmarsh extended his sorrow to O'Neill-Stevens's family.

"Finn was full of smiles and happy conversation.

" I know how heartbroken you all are and those who knew him are feeling so sad too."

Family spokeswoman Liz Childs said O'Neill-Stevens' parents, Sally O'Neill and Leigh Stevens, were grateful for all the love and support they were receiving from family and friends.

- The Nelson Mail

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