Man killed by falling lorry part at Norfolk pig farm compound

Eastgate House, Thorpe Road, where the Coroner's Court is situated in the ground floor. Picture: Den

Eastgate House, Thorpe Road, where the Coroner's Court is situated in the ground floor. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

A father was killed after part of a lorry fell on him while he worked at a compound run by a pig farming company.

Peter Buckle, 67, was employed as an HGV driver by Wayland Farms Ltd, and had worked for the farm group since he was 21-years-old.

On the day of his death he was working to move rubbish at a remote site in Gayton Thorpe, near King's Lynn, where pig feed was stored.

Fellow HGV driver Jack Tyas told today's inquest how Mr Buckle, of Nelson Court, Watton, attempted to use a teleporter and grab to lift the rubbish into the open-topped lorry trailer, but found that the grab was faulty.

The trailer was around 10ft high so it was not practical to throw the rubbish over the top by hand, Mr Tyas said.

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Instead he said he and Mr Buckle worked to prop open the heavy tailgate, a metal flap hinged at the top, while rubbish was put into the trailer.

Mr Tyas said Mr Buckle climbed into the trailer, first tried to use a 6ft piece of wood to prop the tailgate open, and then used a shorter iron bar before 'it went horribly wrong'.

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'Peter had the bar and had his head round the corner of the door, between the door and the post of the trailer, and I think the bar just slipped and the trailer door came down,' he said.

A post mortem revealed Mr Buckle suffered a fractured skull, and he could not be saved.

Farm workers gave conflicting accounts of who was involved and what happened, and live evidence differed from statements taken in the hours and days after the incident on March 24.

In Mr Tyas' statement given on the day of the incident he described two other farm workers being present, but at yesterday's hearing he claimed just he and Mr Buckle were present when it happened.

Coroner Jacqueline Lake reminded him he was on oath.

Farm manager Mark Chapman said: 'At the time of the incident [Mr Buckle] made his own choices.'

A statement from Mr Buckle's widow Maureen said her husband was still working full-time as he was 'still physically fit and capable' but was considering retirement.

'Peter was always a busy worker and was eager to help in any way he could,' she said. 'He was a well organised person and would not complain about much in his life.'

Robin Simon, who looks after health and safety for Wayland Farms, said: 'We've been around after the accident and spent a lot of time on the farm on each section making sure that everybody knows that yes you can say no to a job.'

The jury inquest is set to continue tomorrow.

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