Inquest hears nothing could have been done to save the 34-year-old after fall from rock face.

A climber died as the result of a ‘tragic accident’ when he fell from Gull Rock near Welcombe Mouth, an inquest has concluded.

Matthew Martin, 34, from Weston-super-Mare, was climbing with his two friends Thomas Arlotte and Marc Fenton on May 9, 2015.

Mr Martin, known to his friends as ‘Matty’, was around 40 feet up when he fell.

An inquest at North Devon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday heard Mr Martin, who had been climbing for three years, wanted to take the role of lead climber.

This meant he would climb first, securing the rope with ‘kit’ - which are fixed in cracks in the rock - to hold the line for the next climber.

But Mr Arlotte, who was acting as belayer at the bottom of the rope as Mr Martin climbed, said his friend had left ‘quite big gaps’ between the kit securing him.

Mr Arlotte said he moved his head momentarily to stretch his neck, and as he looked back up Mr Martin was falling backwards.

Mr Fenton, who did not take part in the climb, said he heard a ‘slipping noise’.

He said: “Tom turned to take the force. Matty came down and the first piece of kit popped out straight away.

“The second one stopped him for a second - everything was in slow motion - enough for him to almost starfish on the rope, and then it popped and he came down and ended up on the rock outcrop.”

Mr Martin was pronounced dead at North Devon District Hospital where he was flown by air ambulance.

A post mortem report concluded he had died of an ‘unsurivable’ head injury which would have rendered him unconcious ‘immediately’.

Mountaineering instructor and expert Philip Matthews told the inquest the climb gear placements were ‘not as good as they could have been’.

He told Mr Arlotte: “There was nothing you could have done in that instance to make that result any different.”

Coroner John Tomalin said Mr Martin’s experience and the placement of equipment were relevant factors.

He recorded a verdict of accidental death.