PC Kulwant Sidhu, 24, was one of the first officers to arrive at the joiners workshop in Colne Road, Twickenham, at 11.15pm on October 24, after reports of a break-in at a sculpture studio.

Minutes after his third radio report there was a loud crash.

The jury at Fulham Coroners Court heard that officers at the scene believed the crash came from inside the studio and that a third suspect was trying to break out of the building.

Attempts were made to contact PC Sidhu at 12.04am but it was not until half an hour later that officers realised he had fallen through the roof and his lifeless body was found inside the building.

Dr Richard Shepherd, who performed the post mortem at Kingston Hospital, said PC Sidhu had severed the major blood vessels and muscles in his right arm after falling through the skylight.

Ricky Elsworthy and Andrew Maiden were later convicted of burglary.

Coroner Alison Thompson expressed her deepest sympathy to PC Sidhu's family as she recorded a verdict of accidental death last Thursday.

She said: "PC Sidhu was a great asset to the police force. He was an enthusiastic, humorous and dedicated officer.

"The way in which he died showed the enthusiasm he had for the work he did."

p For a full report see Friday's Richmond Comet.