South East Wales

Cwmcarn High School asbestos worker died on last day

James Paul, Emily Rogers, Kingsley
Image caption James Paul with his fiancee Emily Rogers and their toddler son, Kingsley

A worker who may have been electrocuted while removing asbestos from a school died on his last day at the site his family have said.

James Paul, 26, from Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, was working in a suspended ceiling space at Cwmcarn High School on 19 July when he died.

Mr Paul, who had a son and was due to get married next year, had been due to start a new job the day after he died.

In a statement, Mr Paul's family said they were devastated by his death.

Mr Paul was part of a team that had been removing asbestos from the 900-pupil school which had been forced to close over safety fears.

His mother, Sharon Paul, said her son was expecting to start a new job in Swansea the day after the incident.

She said: "The whole family is devastated and cannot believe that he has been taken from us. The house will not be the same without him as he was a very vocal person with a wicked sense of humour and you certainly knew that he was around.

"Jamie was a larger than life character who would help anybody if needed and will be deeply missed by all the family and his friends."

Mr Paul was engaged to Emily Rogers, 20, and the couple had a son, Kingsley.

Mrs Paul added: "Jamie was the best fiance, daddy, son, brother and uncle that anyone could wish to have who worked hard to provide for his family.

"Jamie loved spending time and doing things with his young son Kingsley, going out on his bike, walking the dog, mending the car anything really they were inseparable. Kingsley and Emily were Jamie's life and they were discussing getting married next year."

In July Gwent Coroner David Bowen adjourned his investigation into Mr Paul's death until 3 October.

The hearing was told Mr Paul was found unresponsive after paramedics attended the school at about 15:15 BST and was pronounced dead at the scene.

'Suffered cardiac arrest'

Mr Paul had suffered a cardiac arrest whilst working in suspended ceiling space, Mr Bowen heard.

An investigation by Gwent Police and the Health and Safety Executive is continuing.

Cwmcarn High School had been closed in October 2012 after a council-commissioned report found that asbestos posed a potential health risk.

But a subsequent report from the HSE said asbestos was present, as it was in other public buildings, but it did not present a risk.

Following the closure of the school, its 900 pupils have been taught 12 miles (19km) away at Coleg Gwent's Ebbw Vale campus, prompting parents' protests.

Caerphilly council has paid £1m to deal with the asbestos, with pupils expected back for the autumn term in September.

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