A coroner has ruled that the death of Scott Johnson, Radiohead’s former drum technician who tragically passed away in 2012 , was caused by “inadequate construction techniques.” Johnson was killed during a stage collapse in 2012, which occurred before the band’s scheduled performance in Toronto, Canada.
The coroner, Nicola Mundy of Doncaster, England, has gone on the record stating that Johnson’s death was caused by “inadequate technical advice” and “wholly inadequate construction techniques.” The issue has faced numerous legal proceedings since 2012, however the ruling by the coroner was made during the second inquest into Johnson’s death. The first occurred late March and ended early April, however no definitive language was made regarding the stage collapse.
The band has released several statements regarding the incident, with their most recent taking place in April as a response to the first inquest.
Their April response reads:
“The Inquest into the death of our friend and crew member, Scott Johnson, has now concluded. The Inquest itself was conducted in a constructive, thorough and fair-minded way. It revealed the negligence and failings that led to Scott’s death. A verdict of Accidental Death was returned, which feels frustratingly insufficient given that the stage collapse was shown to be preventable. The Jury have made sound and practical recommendations to prevent such an accident happening again and to ensure the future safety of show crews and audiences. It’s up to all of us now to make sure that these recommendations are implemented. We’d like to express our gratitude to the Coroner’s Office and the Jury for their tireless work in the Inquest. Our love and respect go out to Ken and Sue Johnson, Scott’s parents. He will be forever in our thoughts.”
In 2017 a judge stalled a lawsuit filed against Live Nation and engineer Domenic Cugliari regarding the incident, which provoked an emotional public response from Radiohead. “We are appalled by the decision to stay the charges against Live Nation, Optex Staging and Domenic Cugliari. This is an insult to the memory of Scott Johnson, his parents and our crew. It offers no consolidation, closure, or assurance the this kind of accident will not happen again,” the band stated upon the court staying the case.
During a performance in Toronto in 2018, Radiohead’s lead singer Thom Yorke publicly addressed the issue, before holding a moment of silence prior to the band’s performance of “Karma Police.” “We wanted to do a show in Toronto, the stage collapsed, killing one of our colleagues and friends,” Yorke stated. “The people who should be held accountable are still not being held accountable in your city. The silence is fucking deafening.”
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat