Kent

Folkestone mechanic's death was misadventure, jury concludes

Ashley King Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Father-of-two Ashley King was saving up for a pram for his new baby

The mother of a mechanic crushed to death by a car at a garage has asked why he was left unsupervised.

Ashley King was dismantling cars when the accident happened at VJ Automotives in Folkestone, Kent, in November 2017.

The 22-year-old was found fatally wounded by his boss, Vaughan Jones, who had left the garage to run an errand.

His mother, Tara King, said things might have been different if he had not been left on his own. An inquest jury concluded his death was misadventure.

An official investigation into what happened is still ongoing.

Image caption Vaughan Jones said there was no need for the mechanic to be working under the car

The two-day inquest at Maidstone's Archbishop's Palace was told the father-of-two was earning £20 a day, and had been saving for a pram for his new baby.

On Tuesday jurors heard details of an exchange between Mr King and his boss during the moments before his death on 16 November.

Image caption The 22-year-old earned £20 a day dismantling cars at the garage in Folkestone

In a telephone call to Mr King shortly before 10:30 GMT, Mr Jones discussed work that needed to be done on a Ford Escort.

Mr King then sent a text message saying it would make his "life easier" if he could cut the drive shafts in half with a grinder.

Mr Jones replied: "That's fine."

In the last message before he was crushed to death, Mr King said: "Sweet."

Mr Jones returned to the garage on the Park Farm Industrial Estate 45 minutes later to find Mr King under the car.

He told the hearing there was no need for the mechanic to go underneath the car as the work could be done from the top of the vehicle or via the wheel arch.

He also said he would always supervise any work which carried any risk.

Concluding the hearing, assistant coroner Katrina Hepburn told the family a lack of evidence left many questions unanswered, including how the car came crashing down.

Speaking afterwards, Mrs King said: "He was a lovely boy who just went to work that day and didn't come home, and all he was doing was trying to provide for his family."

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