Hypnotherapist, 59, drowned after slipping 40ft from Lover’s Leap cliff on Dartmoor during a walk with his wife, inquest hears
- Michael Crudge, 59, drowned after falling from Lover’s Leap cliff on Dartmoor
- The hypnotherapist was out for a walk with his wife Orsolya Balla last August
- A woman nearby tried to rescue Mr Crudge, Plymouth’s Coroner’s Court heard
A hypnotherapist drowned after falling from Lover’s Leap cliff on Dartmoor while out for a walk with his wife, an inquest heard today.
Michael Crudge, 59, was out on the moor with Orsolya Balla last August when he climbed to the top of the landmark on private land at Poundsgate, Devon, before slipping and falling 40 feet into the river below.
Ms Balla ran to get help and two women entered the River Dart to locate Mr Crudge but despite their best efforts he had drowned, the inquest at Plymouth’s Coroner’s Court heard.
Michael Crudge, 59, was out on the moor with Orsolya Balla in August last year
According to a post mortem Mr Crudge had drowned but pathologist Dr Paul Highley said he may have been knocked unconscious in the fall as he had injured his head.
In a statement to the coroner, Ms Balla said her husband was bare chested with a rucksack on his back when he went up Lover’s Leap as she stayed on the ground below, adding that he went near the edge of the ledge.
She said: ‘He appeared to wobble, and wobbled again and put out his arms before he disappeared out of sight and fell over the edge.’
She said she heard a ‘slapping noise’ as his body hit rocks but he did not reply to her calls.
There was no mobile phone signal at the remote location and she ran to a nearby cottage to call for help.
Belinda Abbott, a woman swimming the river, came to her aid and went into the water to try and locate Mr Crudge from the deep but slow moving river.
The dog walker had heard his screams from where she was, DevonLive reported.
She said: ‘It was so cold, I was struggling.’
Ms Abbott found him submerged, face down, wedged near a boulder in the middle of the river.
She managed to flip Mr Crudge over and gave him CPR before 999 crews arrived along with the Dartmoor Rescue Group.
Police called the incident a ‘tragic accident’ and said Mr Crudge, of Newton Abbot, Devon, had fallen into the river and may have lost consciousness on the way down.
Senior coroner for Plymouth and south Devon Ian Arrow recorded an accidental death conclusion.
The hypnotherapist climbed to the top of the landmark on private land at Poundsgate, Devon, before he slipping and falling 40 feet into the river below
He said: ‘Michael set out for a day’s walk. It appears at the top of Lover’s Leap he has sadly accidentally fallen from the top and injured himself as he fell and entered the water.’
Mr Arrow praised the efforts of ‘public spirited’ rescuers and especially Ms Abbott who police said has been nominated for an award.
Mr Crudge worked as a hypnotherapist as well as being a healer who used Indian head massage and a retreat organiser.
In the 70s, he also used to be a singer for Blackpool punk band The Fits.
Music journalist John Robb wrote a tribute to the late Mr Crudge in Louder Than War, saying: ‘I’m totally floored by the death of Mick Crudge the former singer of Blackpool punk band The Fits.
‘Mick was a beautiful spirit whose tidal wave of life force seemed unstoppable with whatever he threw himself at – whether it was punk rock or his later spiritual and healing wanderings.
‘It was always a joy to bump into him from my teenage years in grimy Blackpool late seventies punk rock dives or in later years in the green fields of festivals or in London where he lived when not wandering around the world.’