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Inquest opens into death of Brendan Lavery in Thorpeness cliff collapse

PUBLISHED: 11:49 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 12:16 13 February 2017

Coastal erosion takes its toll on cliffs at Thorpeness, to the south of Sizewell.

Coastal erosion takes its toll on cliffs at Thorpeness, to the south of Sizewell.

Archant

The inquest into a man who died after the cliffs at Thorpeness collapsed onto him has opened in Ipswich this morning.

The scene of the cliff collapse at Thorpeness. Picture: ANDY ABBOTTThe scene of the cliff collapse at Thorpeness. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Brendan Lavery, 58, of Culford Road in Bury St Edmunds had been walking his dog on January 14 along the beach when the cliffs collapsed and trapped him beneath the debris.

Despite the best efforts of rescue crews he could not be saved, and his cause of death was confirmed as massive multiple injuries.

Mr Lavery was married and worked as an electronic systems engineer.

During the inquest’s opening at Beacon House, Ipswich, assistant coroner Kevin McCarthy said: “This is a tragedy indeed – walking for pleasure, one assumes, along the beach and the cliff collapses is a tragedy,” adding his condolences to Mr Lavery’s family.

Beacon House in Ipswich where the inquest was held. Picture: Jason NobleBeacon House in Ipswich where the inquest was held. Picture: Jason Noble

Eyewitnesses at the scene of the tragedy described the desperate efforts of more than 50 people trying to dig him free, with an estimated 15-20ft of cliffs having come down.

The inquest has been adjourned until June 1.

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