Ilfracombe Harbour had 'tripping hazards', inquest hears

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There were numerous "tripping hazards" at a harbour in which a trawlerman fell to his death, an inquest has heard.

Father-of-two Jamie Barbeary, from Swansea, died three years ago at Ilfracombe Harbour in north Devon.

The skipper had been due to leave on the Olivia Belle with two other crew members shortly after midnight on 12 October 2009.

But he did not show up and his body was found at low tide in the harbour shortly after sunrise.

It is believed he fell more than 20ft (6.5m) while trying to get on board the Olivia Belle, striking his head on the concrete plinth of a fuelling berth where the vessel had been moored.

'Access issues'

The inquest in Exeter heard Mr Barbeary, 37, was nearly three times the legal drink-drive limit when a sample of his blood was taken and examined.

But Joanna Fitzgerald, Health and Safety Executive inspector, said there were hazards at the harbour, following site visits to the location.

She said: "There were nets and equipment and various floor-level obstructions. Any of these could constitute a tripping hazard."

The hearing was told some fishermen had identified "quayside access issues" when getting on to some vessels.

Ms Fitzgerald said some lights at the harbour were inoperable, although harbour master Robin Lawson said that would have had "very little if any bearing at all" on the visibility around the Olivia Belle.

The inquest continues.

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