Refuge Assurance Building Manchester
Amir Navaratnam fell 50 feet from the top of the Principal Hotel in Manchester Wikimedia Commons/Rept0n1x


  • 22-year-old Amir Navaratnam fell to his death from the top of Manchester's Principal Hotel.
  • Witnesses reported seeing his phone's torch flash several times.
  • He had a high level of alcohol in his blood along with traces of ketamine and cannabis.

A 22-year-old man fell 50 feet to his death while trying to take a photo atop a Manchester hotel in abject weather conditions.

Amir Navaratnam's body was found in a nearby canal after his fall on 21 February, 2016. The incident occured while Navaratnam, from Haslingden in Lancashire, was visiting his brother Bradley who worked at Refuge Bar on the ground floor of the Principal Hotel, the Daily Mail reported.

Tests found that Navaratnam had 204 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milligrams of blood. The drink-driving limit is 80 milligrams per 100 milligrams of blood.

Traces of cannabis and ketamine were found in his system. His brother testified that Navaratnam had also been using cocaine that evening.

The brothers went to a nearby bar while Bradley was on his break, where Amir took cocaine. "He had taken some a few hours before," Bradley told the inquest, "but he wasn't in a state where he couldn't control his behaviour".

Hotel employee Chris Gudgeon said he noticed that a restriction bar on a window on the hotel's fourth floor had been forced open. Gudgeon alerted his manager, before spotting a figure on the roof at the base of the hotel's clock tower.

"We could see him on the roof walking up and down - he wasn't staggering, he was walking quite confidently," Gudgeon said.

"The weather was awful, it was pouring with rain and windy.

"He picked up a 10-foot ladder and had it under his arm. I saw him again, this time on the bell tower of the roof, he looked like he was using the torch on his phone.

"We all went onto the roof and the police officer shouted for him to get down. He replied saying, 'OK' and he turned around and looked as if he was going to climb down, but he disappeared and I didn't see him again."

Security manager Alan Atkinson said he saw Navaratnam's phone camera flash "several times".

Coroner Nick Stanage recorded a verdict of death by misadventure, and said: "The deceased fell after coming down from the roof of the Principal Hotel which he had accessed without permission. The fall lead to his death moments later."

"There is no reasonable argument that the hotel prior to the death failed to do anything it should have done and staff of the hotel have been deeply affected by what happened."