Arthur, the 15-year-old son of rocker Nick Cave, was experimenting with LSD on the day he fell from a cliff in England. “It’s what kids do all the time, and most of the time … they get away with it,” said the coroner, “except on sad occasions like this.”
The coroner was speaking at an inquest into the accidental death of Nick Cave’s son, who was with a friend the day he died this summer. Both had decided to try LSD for the first time that day, and Arthur ended up falling from a cliff onto the underpass in Brighton, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The revelation that Nick Cave’s son was high on LSD when he died was one of many details revealed at the inquest, including the boys’ debate over trying the drug and the attempts of passersby to help the young man.
One consolation for Nick, his wife, Susie Bick (who left when details of their son’s catastrophic injuries were read), and the couple’s remaining children was that Arthur likely had no idea what was happening and didn’t suffer. And if an EMT had been at the bottom of the cliff to care for him, he would’ve died anyway.
Cave’s cause of death was found to be from “multiple traumatic injuries due to a fall from a height.”
According to The Guardian, Arthur Cave and his friend, who wasn’t named, decided on July 14 to try LSD. The night before, Cave’s friend went online to learn how long the high lasted and how many doses to take — but not the side effects. He said Cave was hesitant to try it but after a debate, the boys shared three tablets. At first, they were in “good spirits and happy.” But “vivid hallucinations” followed, and the friend said he became paranoid.
Then, he and Cave parted ways. That’s when eyewitness Veronica Langford, stuck in traffic with her 11-year-old daughter in the car, saw Nick Cave’s son on the edge of what’s called the Ovingdean Gap cliffs, People reported.
“As we approached the top of the hill, I noticed a young man walking – staggering and zig-zagging on the grass. I was concerned and my initial reaction was that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”
Cave “slumped down into the grass,” and Veronica said she thought, “I need to get to him.” When she next looked into her rear view mirror, Cave had climbed a public safety fence and walked toward the edge of the 60-foot drop.
“I had a real sinking feeling at this point,” she said.
She parked, telling her daughter she had to be a Good Samaritan and check on Cave and with a group of concerned drivers, she walked to the edge of the cliff. Veronica and a jogger peered over the edge; the jogger found Cave lying on the concrete below. Cave wasn’t moving.
The severity of Cave’s injuries were detailed at the inquest, and for that, Nick Cave and his wife left the room. Cave had broken both his legs, suffered a brain hemorrhage, and catastrophic skull fractures. Cave was taken to a local hospital, but he died that evening. The man who treated him, Dr. Paul Ransom, said, “Sadly, and I think mercifully, it was clear that he was not aware of what was going on. The point of impact was the point of death.”
Nick Cave, 58, is an Australian musician, most famous as the lead singer of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, which was formed in Melbourne in the 1980s. Nick and his wife have two other sons, Luke and Jethro, who were born in 2001. And Arthur has a twin brother named Earl, who left flowers on the beach where his brother died and this heartbreaking note.
“Arthur – I love you so much. You were a joy to be around and I will never forget you. You were the best brother I could ever ask for. Earl.”
The inquest ended with the coroner reading a statement from Nick and his family, describing Arthur as “a bright, shiny, funny, complex boy and we loved him deeply.”
[Photo By Tabatha Fireman / Getty Images]