Man, 22, Dies After Best Friend’s Prank Goes Horribly Wrong

Conner Groom, 22, has tragically died after a prank by his friend went wrong.
Credit: GoFundMe

A young man has tragically died after a prank by his best friend went wrong. 

Conner Groom, from Clacton-on-Sea, was just 22 years old when he lost his life five weeks after suffering a ‘catastrophic’ spinal injury.

People have taken to social media and paid tribute to Groom following reports of his passing.

One Facebook user writes: “So sad. Thoughts go out to his friends and family.”

A second says: “Bless him, lovely lad gone. So tragic.”

“RIP, what a terrible tragedy,” a third person pens.

The inquest into Groom’s death heard how he had been at Topgolf, in Chigwell, Essex, for a work Christmas party in December 2021 when the tragedy unfolded, per the BBC.

Groom’s group, from a bricklaying company, had been ‘drinking heavily’ after travelling via coach from Weeley, near Clacton-on-Sea, to the golf driving range.

They arrived at 7pm and drank alcohol at the bar. An hour later, they were taken to the first floor of the two-story building.

The inquest heard how the group were ‘having a laugh and a joke’ by pushing each other into the safety net at the edge of the golfing bay.

Detective Inspector Lydia George told the hearing how staff had warned the party on several occasions to stop ‘messing around’.

Conner Groom
Conner Groom died after a prank by his friend went wrong. Credit: GoFundMe

She said Groom was shoved onto the safety netting twice and before his fatal fall, he had pushed one of his friends.

George added that at 10:08pm, the 22-year-old lined up to take a shot and his friend told a member of the group he was going to push him.

The unnamed friend came ‘running from behind’ Groom and pushed him after the latter had struck a golf ball.

The hearing heard how Groom tumbled over the safety net and fell around 12 feet, landing face-first on the driving range below.

Groom’s foot had reportedly become momentarily stuck on the netting as he fell, so he had ‘no control whatsoever over how he landed’.

Security guard Dion McKenzie said his friend rushed down the stairs and repeatedly said to Groom: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” as he lay on the floor with blood coming from his nose.

Topgolf, Chigwell.
The 22-year-old died after tumbling over the safety net and falling 12 feet at Topgolf, Chigwell (pictured above). Credit: Alamy

The Clacton-on-Sea resident was taken to the Royal London Hospital that night but would die on January 25, 2022.

His proposed cause of death was a hypoxic brain injury by traumatic spinal cord injury, reports MailOnline.

Groom’s friend would be arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm without intent but this charge was later dropped.

Essex senior coroner Lincoln Brookes would conclude that Groom died due to a misadventure resulting from ‘inebriated but not malicious horseplay’.

He said: “I entirely accept this was due to good spirits and there was nothing malicious.”

Brookes said alcohol had ‘severely impacted’ Groom’s friend’s judgement while the deceased’s parents didn’t support a prosecution.

It was said: “They believed that Conner would not have wanted to support any action over him as they are good friends.”

Graham Jarvisat, the health and safety officer at Epping Forest District Council, told the hearing that Topgolf has improved its staff training around potential health risks following the tragedy.

This includes updated signage and a more ‘zero tolerance’ policy for those who push people into the safety nets.

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Written by Aimee Walker

Aimee is a senior content editor at IGV who specialises in finding the best original stories, trending topics and entertainment news. She graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Media and Communications.