Family pays tribute to London student killed in Majorca balcony fall

Gerard Couzens, Daniel O'Mahoney
"Full of joy": James Walton was on a placement year working as an intern for a hotel group in Palma

The family of a London student who fell to his death from a fourth-floor balcony in Majorca today paid tribute to him, saying he was “full of joy”.

James Walton, 22, who was on a placement year, suffered fatal head injuries after plunging from a friend’s apartment during a St Patrick’s Day party.

A passer-by found Mr Walton lying on the pavement in the island’s capital Palma, near the El Corte Inglés department store, just after 6am on Sunday.

The Sheffield Hallam student, who grew up in Ealing, had been in Palma since September and he was working as a global loyalty intern at Melia Hotels International.

He was in his third year of a degree in languages with international business.

His mother, Elizabeth, said today that the family was “trying to come to terms with” his death. In a statement, Mr Walton’s family said: “He lived life to the full and was full of joy, despite losing his father to cancer when he was aged seven. James was loved by everyone who was lucky enough to know him and, as one friend said, he would walk into a room of strangers and leave, having made lifelong friends.”

Friends of the former Twyford Church of England School pupil paid tribute to him on social media, including posting videos of Mr Walton dancing.

Melia colleague Maja Jaroszewska wrote: “Our amazing James. Words can’t describe how heartbroken we feel to have lost you so soon and so unexpected[ly]. You are forever in our hearts. We will remember you, doing your amazing dance moves and winning dance-offs with strangers. Thank you for being in my life.”

Police believe James, who spoke German and Spanish, lost his balance. It emerged his friends were unaware he had fallen until police called at the door. A Melia spokeswoman said Mr Walton had been a “great worker and companion, considerate, responsible and talented”. Sheffield Hallam University said: “We are extremely saddened to hear that one of our students has tragically died whilst on placement in Spain.”

A spokesman for Spain’s national police confirmed the death was being treated as accidental.