Dr James Kew: Runner died after touching cable

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

A man who came into contact with an electricity cable while out running died "accidentally", an inquest jury has found.

Dr James Kew, 41, died instantly when he touched the low-hanging cable in a field in Newport, Essex, in 2012.

The high-voltage cable had been reported earlier but UK Power Networks did not cut the power, saying it did not "appreciate the danger".

The jury at Chelmsford Crown Court delivered a narrative verdict.

Dr Kew had been out with members of a running club on 24 July when he came into contact with the 11,000-volt cable.

'Great dignity'

The inquest heard how a couple had seen the cable before Dr Kew's death.

They took photos of it, described it as being at "eye and head level", and made a makeshift pile of sticks around it with a warning sign.

The couple spoke with National Grid and UK Power Networks, who sent a technician to inspect the wire but by the time he had arrived Dr Kew had died.

Coroner Caroline Beasley Murray said biologist Dr Kew was "a gifted scientist doing groundbreaking work".

Speaking to his family in court, Ms Murray said: "You've not only lost a son, you've had the ordeal of sitting through this inquest, and you have done so with great dignity."

Earlier in the hearing, UK Power Networks said it had since changed its policy of only isolating a line once a technician had inspected it.

In a statement after the inquest, the company said: "Our thoughts at UK Power Networks are with Mrs Kew, her sons, their family and friends at this sad time.

"We'd like to repeat the condolences that we expressed to them following Dr Kew's death."

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