Restaurant diners see man killed by falling masonry

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The Independent Online

A man was killed by falling masonry while sitting outside a restaurant.

Peter Westropp, 27, was sitting beneath an awning, enjoying drinks with friends at the award-winning Le Bouchon Bordelais in Battersea, South-west London, at about 9.20pm on Wednesday when he was struck by a large piece of masonry which had broken off a stone column. Witnesses described a sudden, loud crash as the awning collapsed.

Paul Croxton, 35, a graphic designer who was sitting at the next table, told the London Evening Standard: "The first we knew of it was an almighty thud, noise, and then we felt the debris on our backs. I turned round and I thought the guy must have fallen from the roof as he was still leaning backwards."

He added: "The arm of the awning is the only thing that stopped it from hitting us. It was a very quiet post-riot evening and everyone was trying to get back to normality."

Friends of Mr Westropp, who worked in the City and is believed to have lived locally, visited the scene yesterday. A friend of his housemate, who was with him when the accident happened, said they were devastated.

Police cordoned off the restaurant's outdoor area and are investigating the incident. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "We can confirm that the police were called at 9.20pm yesterday to Battersea Rise after a piece of masonry fell on a man.

"He was a 27-year-old man and was pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin are yet to be informed."

Le Bouchon Bordelais said the restaurant would not be commenting on the incident and would remain closed until further notice. Its general manager, Oliver Cohen, told the Evening Standard: "At the moment, I need to find out what happened."

Some residents said a car had recently crashed into the wall from which the masonry fell.