A TEENAGE workman fell 20 feet to his death from a ladder which a health and safety inspector described as the worst he had ever seen.

Peter Evans, aged 18, was working on the windows of a home in Leigh when the accident happened.

He fell head first on to a concrete patio and, despite the efforts of staff at Salford's Hope Hospital, died the next day from extensive head injuries..

Mr Evans' family were not at the inquest in Bolton yesterday, but his father, Peter Evans senior, told in a statement how his son, the eldest of four children, had been a fit and healthy boy, interested in boxing and earning a living by dealing in horses and cars and doing building work.

He told coroner Jennifer Leeming how his son had very little schooling and had started working with him gardening, block paving and asphalting from the age of nine.

"He was a good lad. He never looked for trouble," said Mr Evans.

In May last year Mr Evans junior, his uncle John Riley and two other young men turned up at Kenneth Stokes' semi-deatched house in Angus Avenue, Leigh, to replace the fascias with uPVC.

In a statement Mr Riley said Mr Evans had been putting up fascias at the back of the property and was using his own ladders, which the teenager had previously bought at a car boot sale.

Mr Stokes was sunbathing in his back garden while he watched the men work.

He told the inquest how Mr Evans was up the ladder and over-reaching sideways to try to knock in a nail when the ladder slipped and the teenager fell to the ground.

Mr Stokes phoned for an ambulance as Mr Evans lay on the ground groaning but unable to speak.

A post mortem examination revealed Mr Evans, who was living at a travellers' caravan site at Five Acre Farm, Middlewich, Cheshire, suffered several skull fractures and massive brain damage.

Health and safety inspector Ian Evans told the inquest: "The state of the ladders was key in the accident."

He added that at least one of the rungs of the metal ladder was missing and the remainder were dented. The rubber feet which should have been on the foot of the ladder were missing and no one had been holding the ladder to stabilise it while Mr Evans climbed.

A jury of five women and three men returned a verdict of accidental death.

Speaking after the inquest Mr Evans stated that the biggest cause of workplace deaths is falling from height and warned people to check the condition of their ladders before use. "This was the worst case I have ever seen," he said.

"Every single rung was damaged."