Essex biologist James Kew dies in power cable jogging incident

Dr James Kew, director of biology in the research department at GlaxoSmithKline
Image caption Dr Kew was a director of biology at GlaxoSmithKline in Stevenage

A man has died of severe burns after coming into contact with an electricity cable while jogging.

Dr James Kew, 41, was pronounced dead at the scene after emergency services were called to a field in Newport, Essex, at 20:40 BST on Tuesday.

Dr Kew, of Radwinter Road, Ashdon, was jogging with three other people when he struck the cable. Two were treated for minor electric shock injuries.

It is thought the 11,000-volt cable was hanging across a path.

Electricity firm UK Power Networks was called by the fire service to isolate power to the cable and an area of wheat field was cordoned off.

A police spokesman said the Health and Safety Executive had been informed of the death and a joint investigation with Essex fire service was under way.

A spokeswoman for UK Power Networks said it was "helping with an investigation" and would not comment on reports locally suggesting the low-hanging cable had been reported earlier in the evening.

Dr Kew died two days before his 42nd birthday.

He was a director of biology in the research department at GlaxoSmithKline in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, since 2010.

He had a BSc in biological sciences from the University of Exeter and a PhD in developmental neuroscience from the University of Cambridge.

'Absolutely devastating'

In a statement, GlaxoSmithKline said: "James Kew was a respected scientist and valued colleague in our research and development organisation.

"Our thoughts are with his friends, family and his GSK colleagues at this extremely difficult time."

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Media captionA police spokesman said the scene in the field had been very disturbing

Dr Kew was also a lead member of the Saffron Striders running club, ranking first out of 58 in their 2012 championship.

The club said he completed this year's London Marathon in three hours and five minutes.

Club chairman Nigel Coates said: "He was a very popular member of the Striders who will be deeply missed.

"Everyone at the club is absolutely devastated by James's death and our thoughts go to his family at this incredibly difficult time.

"We would like to thank the emergency services who attended the scene last night."

He added Dr Kew was a "quiet and unassuming" person.

The runner also played for Bishops Stortford Hockey Club, who tweeted: "Very sad news about 4th XI and Vets player James Kew who sadly died in a freak accident whilst running yesterday."

Peter Ascot, who lives in Newport, was out walking with a group of 10 people at about 18:30 BST on Tuesday.

He said: "We saw the cable hanging low and almost touching the wheat. We all remarked on it at the time.

"I woke up this morning and saw what happened. I feel absolutely dreadful that I didn't report it - you can't help feeling you could have done more.

"It's unbelievable this has happened. It's absolutely devastating."

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