Father-of-two died in 'Tragic accident' after falling from window, says his brother
A FATHER-OF-TWO, who was a keen sportsman and a distinguished former soldier, has died after falling from an upstairs window of his Saffron Walden home. Nicholas Gerard Whelan, 41, fell from his flat above Central Arcade, King Street, shortly before midday
A FATHER-OF-TWO, who was a keen sportsman and a distinguished former soldier, has died after falling from an upstairs window of his Saffron Walden home.
Nicholas Gerard Whelan, 41, fell from his flat above Central Arcade, King Street, shortly before midday on Saturday. He died at the scene after suffering serious head and neck injuries.
Danny Whelan, who was staying with his brother and was with him when he died, described it as a "tragic accident".
"He was looking forward to taking some time out and going back to the family home in Yorkshire," he said. "Our father was coming to pick him up and was about 15 minutes away when he slipped from the window.
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"The paramedics were fantastic; they did everything they could and I can't praise them highly enough. Unfortunately the injuries were too serious."
Born in Germany in May 1968, Nicholas followed in his father's footsteps and became a soldier, eventually joining 33 Royal Engineers (EOD) based at the Carver Barracks in Wimbish.
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During his 18 years of service he served in the first Gulf War and twice in Bosnia as well as being involved in a number of bomb disposal incidents across the United Kingdom.
Commended for his bravery, Nicholas was mentioned in despatches during a mine clearing operation in the Middle East.
While working in a military vehicle known as an Aardvark, a mortar was thrown up into the air and landed on top of the cab. In an effort to protect his soldiers, Nicholas picked up the explosive with his hands and carried it to a safe place.
A keen sportsman, Nicholas had competed at the military's highest level and represented the combined armed forces at water polo, skiing and swimming.
Nicholas was based at the Carver Barracks for about two years, but remained in Saffron Walden after he left the army to be close to his two children, Harry, six, and Charlie, four, who live with his ex-wife in Thaxted.
At the time of his death, Nicholas worked at Canary Wharf as a manager for Tube Lines, a company responsible for the maintenance and upgrade of part of the London Underground network. He had recently won a national award for his work.
The accident was attended by the East of England Ambulance Service, the East Anglian Air Ambulance and officers from Saffron Walden Police Station.
A police spokesman said that the death was not being treated as suspicious and a file was being prepared for the coroner. An inquest will be held in 2010.