22-Year-Old Man Dies After Friend’s Prank Goes Horribly Wrong

22-Year-Old Man Dies After Friend’s Prank Goes Horribly Wrong
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A young man, Conner Groom, tragically passed away following a prank by his best friend that went horribly wrong. Groom, from Clacton-on-Sea, was only 22 years old when he died five weeks after sustaining a catastrophic spinal injury. The incident occurred at a work Christmas party in December 2021 at Topgolf in Chigwell, Essex. During the party, Groom’s group, who had been drinking heavily, engaged in playful shoving near the safety netting of the golfing bay despite multiple warnings from staff to stop.

Detective Inspector Lydia George reported that Groom had been pushed twice onto the safety netting before his fatal fall. The last shove, delivered by a friend running from behind, caused Groom to tumble over the net, falling 12 feet and landing face-first on the driving range below. As he fell, Groom’s foot briefly got caught in the netting, leaving him with no control over his landing. He was immediately rushed to the Royal London Hospital but sadly died on January 25, 2022, from a hypoxic brain injury and traumatic spinal cord injury.


In the aftermath, Groom’s friend was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm without intent, but the charges were later dropped. Essex senior coroner Lincoln Brookes ruled the death as a misadventure due to “inebriated but not malicious horseplay,” noting the significant impact of alcohol on the friend’s judgment. Groom’s parents did not support prosecution, believing their son would not have wanted to take legal action against his good friend.

Following the tragedy, Topgolf has enhanced its health and safety measures, including improved staff training, updated signage, and a stricter zero-tolerance policy for dangerous behavior around safety nets. The incident serves as a somber reminder of the potential consequences of seemingly harmless pranks, especially under the influence of alcohol.