Wales

Factory worker's UPM Shotton mill death 'accidental'

UPM Shotton Image copyright Google

The death of a man who was run over by a lorry at the paper mill he worked at was accidental, an inquest concluded.

Austin Thomas, 29, was struck from behind by the shovel loader at UPM Shotton in Flintshire on 6 February 2017.

The inquest jury in Abergele heard lorry driver Darren Wright initially thought he ran over a bundle of paper.

He said he only realised what happened when he heard a fellow worker radio to ask why Mr Thomas was on the floor.

Shortly before the fatal collision, Mr Wright had been on a cigarette break with father-of-one Mr Thomas, from Oakenholt, the inquest heard.

After their break, Mr Wright was unaware his colleague had re-entered the warehouse on foot.

"We miss Aus"

Mr Thomas, a former soldier in the Welsh Guards who had served in Kosovo and Afghanistan, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Following his death, Mr Wright took a saliva drugs test, which he passed, although some traces of cannabis were later found in his blood.

Mr Wright admitted smoking cannabis the weekend before the accident, which happened on a Monday.

Following the inquest, Mr Thomas' father Allen said in a statement: "We all miss Aus."

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