Bristol

Death of man crushed by dumper truck accidental, inquest rules

Paul Lees, 61, of Keynsham, near Bristol
Image caption Paul Lees was the brother of former Coronation Street actress Stephanie Cole

A man was crushed to death by a six tonne dumper truck as he cleaned it, an inquest has heard.

Paul Lees, 61, from Keynsham, Bristol, was found underneath the wheels of the vehicle at Byfield Services in St Philips in the city last February.

Mr Lees, who was the brother of former Coronation Street actress Stephanie Cole, died from crush injuries and traumatic asphyxiation.

A jury at Avon Coroner's Court returned a verdict of accidental death.

Mr Lees, who was employed as a service fitter at the plant hire firm, was working alone and no one witnessed the accident, the inquest heard.

Simon Dew, who owns the business with Spencer Thomas, said they had recently bought the dumper truck at an auction.

The pair had been away from the yard on the morning Mr Lees died and when they returned they found he was dead.

'No eyewitnesses'

Health and safety experts cannot be sure exactly how Mr Lees came to be underneath the truck.

But the inquest heard he may have knocked the gear lever on the steering column into reverse as he exited the dumper and fell underneath the wheels.

James Lucas, from the Health and Safety Executive, said: "I don't know how Paul ended up on the floor and I don't know how the machine was knocked into gear but that's my hypothesis of how it happened."

Miss Cole, who also starred in ITV serial Doc Martin and prisoner of war drama Tenko, attended the hour-long inquest with her daughter Emma Battcock.

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