Falling roof kills Leeds stage hand working on Madonna's world tour

Charles Prow
Charles Prow
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A STAGE hand from Leeds suffered multiple fatal injuries when a stage roof for a Madonna concert partly collapsed during "flawed" construction process, an inquest heard.

Charles Prow, 23, was working on a Madonna world tour and was helping erect the stage roof ahead of the singer's concert at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille when it collapsed, Wakefield Coroner's Court was told.

Charles Prow

Charles Prow

The inquest heard French authorities have charged a number of people and companies with manslaughter in connection with the July 16 2009 incident, which also claimed the life of Frenchman Charles Criscenzo, 53.

Mother 'appalled' at ten-year wait for criminal charges after Leeds stage hand's death on Madonna tour

Area Coroner Jonathan Leach said the stage roof was constructed on the stadium floor and was being lifted into place with chains attached to motors on six towers, which had been built to support the roof.

Mr Leach said the process halted when motors on two of the towers overheated and failed.

The inquest heard Mr Prow, of Hyde Park, Leeds, was told to attach a sling from a crane to part of the roof to continue with the lift.

The roof was only around 20cm away from reaching its final position and had stopped moving when the collapse happened, while Mr Prow was in one of the towers.

An investigation found the sling had been placed on a part of the roof which buckled because it was not designed to bear the weight of the load.

Mr Leach said Mr Prow had been told to place the sling on part of the roof and was not at fault.

Mr Leach said the investigation in France found the roof collapse happened after "total improvisation" during the construction process which was "flawed in a number of areas."

Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Leach said: "A report by French authorities who investigated found it was avoidable and various individuals and companies have been charged with manslaughter of the deceased."

After the inquest, Mr Prow's family said their son, who grew up in Otley and Meanwood, was a keen BMX cyclist and a qualified yachtsman.

Mr Prow's mother Faith Greenwood, 58, of Ryhill near Wakefield, said he had been a stage hand for around four years and was on his second Madonna tour when the tragedy happened.

Paying tribute to her son, Ms Greenwood said: "He was charismatic, everbody loved him."

Mr Prow's sister Victoria Prow, 34, said: "He was a loveable rogue."

His father Chris Prow, 61, said: "He was a son that every father would be proud of. He would have a go at everything and succeeded at most things."

Madonna described the deaths as “a great tragedy”.

Speaking at a concert in Udine, north-east Italy, following the tragedy she told fans: “Let’s all just take a moment to say a prayer for Charles Criscenzo and Charlie Prow. Our hearts go out to their families and loved ones.”