A boy died on Snowdon because of sheer bad luck when a large rock gave way, a coroner said.

Liam Costello, 11, of Childwall, Liverpool, suffered a fractured skull when he fell from Crib Goch while tackling the ridge with a group of fellow football club members last October. Coroner Dewi Pritchard-Jones recorded a verdict of accidental death at the inquest in Caernarfon.

The court heard that Liam had been on the ridge with Keith Davies, an experienced hill walker, who took the boy and Mr Davies’s own sons, aged eight and 12, by the scrambling route while the rest of the party of 12 children and six adults took a lower path up Snowdon.

A large rock which Liam was using to hold on to gave way; he fell backwards and struck his head. He would have died instantly, the inquest heard.

Mr Pritchard-Jones said the decision to split the group was sensible, with the younger children taking the tourist path with Mr Costello while Liam and the other two boys took the more adventurous route along Crib Goch.

Mr Davies could not have anticipated the rock breaking away; he should not be criticised for choosing the route. Mr Pritchard-Jones said: “There's no such thing as a safe mountain. Thousands of people go up Snowdon every year and come to no harm.”

He said he was sometimes criticised for referring to mountain accidents as sheer bad luck. But this was a classic case.

He went on to praise the parents who took the children on the trip, saying it was better than ‘hanging round street corners’ and that it gave the youngsters a sense of adventure.

Liam’s father had previously said there was no-one to blame for the ‘tragic accident’. He described his son as ‘a fabulous boy with time and compassion for everyone’.