Wakefield mother "appalled" at 10-year-wait for criminal charges after son's death on Madonna tour

Charles Prow
Charles Prow

The mother of a 23-year-old stage hand who suffered multiple fatal injuries after a  stage roof collapsed ahead of a Madonna concert in France said she is "appalled" " it has taken nearly 10-years for manslaughter charges to be brought.

Charles Prow, of Hyde Park, Leeds, was helping erect the stage roof during a "flawed" construction process ahead of the singer's concert at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille when it collapsed on July 16 2009, Wakefield Coroner's Court was told.

An inquest into Mr Prow's death today (Wednesday) was told authorities in France charged a number of people and companies with manslaughter this January in connection with the incident, which also claimed the life of Frenchman Charles Criscenzo, 53.

Mr Prow's mother Faith Greenwood, 58, of Ryhill, Wakefield, said after the inquest: "I'm appalled that it has taken nearly 10-years for the manslaughter charges to have been brought."

Ms Greenwood added: "There is closure in this country, but obviously it is going to carry on in France and we don't know when it's going to end. It is stressful."

Mr Prow's sister Victoria Prow, 34, said: "It is a constant upheaval of emotions, because it has been going on for such a long time. It is painful."

Mr Prow's father Chris Prow, 61, of Castleford, said: "I am annoyed about the delay, but I understand it.

"The French authorities are doing a thorough job with the many aspects of their investigation as far as I can see. It is very complex."

Mr Prow added: "It is incredibly frustrating and we are left with a feeling of hopelessness. Sometimes you think you are just forgotten about in all this."

During today's inquest, area coroner Jonathan Leach said the stage roof was constructed on the floor of the stadium and was being lifted into place using chains attached to motors on six towers, which were built to support the roof.

Mr Leach said the motors on two of the towers overheated and failed before Mr Prow was told to attach a sling from a crane to part of the roof to continue with the lift.

The roof was only around 20cm away from reaching its final position and had stopped moving when the collapse happened, while Mr Prow was in one of the towers.

The inquest heard an investigation in France found that the sling had been placed on a section of the roof that had not been designed to bear the load and the roof section buckled.

Mr Leach said Mr Prow had been told to place the sling on part of the roof and was not at fault.

Mr Leach said an investigation in France found the roof collapse happened after "total improvisation" during the construction process.

Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Leach said: "A report by French authorities who investigated found it was avoidable and various individuals and companies have been charged with manslaughter of the deceased."

After ther inquest, Mr Prow's family said he was a keen BMX cyclist and a qualified yachtsman.

His mother Faith Greenwood said her son had been a stage hand for around four years and was on his second Madonna tour when the tragedy happened.

Paying tribute to her son, Ms Greenwood said: "He was charismatic, everbody loved him."

Mr Prow's sister Victoria Prow , said: "He was a loveable rogue."

His father Chris, said: He was a son that every father would be proud of. He would have a go at everything and succeeded at most things."

Madonna described the deaths as “a great tragedy”.

Speaking at a concert in Udine, north-east Italy, following the tragedy she told fans: “Let’s all just take a moment to say a prayer for Charles Criscenzo and Charlie Prow.

"Our hearts go out to their families and loved ones."