Student's death from exploding barrel an accident, coroner's jury rules

Eric Leighton was killed in shop class explosion at Mother Teresa High School in Ottawa in May...

Eric Leighton was killed in shop class explosion at Mother Teresa High School in Ottawa in May 2011. (Submitted photo)

Doug Hempstead, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:58 PM ET

OTTAWA -- A five-member coroner's jury ruled it was a tragic accident when Eric Leighton was killed by an exploding barrel during a high school shop class and compiled a list of 22 recommendations they feel should be easy to implement.

Thursday's end to the nearly two-week-long inquest seemed to bring clarity, closure and satisfaction from all sides.

The city teen's parents, Pat and Sheri, said they were pleased with the recommendations, especially the fact they seemed to be mostly directed at the school board, the system and not the students.

"That's what we've been fighting for," Sheri said. "It shouldn't just be -- well, he's an expert, let's go forth. It should be -- let's look at the guidelines and the project and see where we can go from here, and what is safe and what is not."

Before the start of the inquest, neither parent had heard details of how their son died.

"If he suffered at all, and we found out that he didn't. It was very quick."


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