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Accidental death verdict at inquest into Burghfield man's death

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Crushed by straw bales at Thatcham farm

A VERDICT of accidental death was recorded at the inquest into the death of a Burghfield man who was crushed by straw bales at a farm.

The inquest at Reading Town Hall into the death of 61-year-old Nigel Strang, of Theale Road, on September 19 heard that, at 2pm, he had dropped off some bales at Henwick Manor Farm – owned by his partner – and he was unloading them when the fatal accident happened.

A statement written by George Graham, the son of the farm owner, was read out by Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford on Thursday last week.

Mr Graham said his mother telephoned Mr Strang at 6.30pm, but received no response.

At 7pm, Mr Graham discovered Mr Strang’s tractor and flatbed trailer still loaded with straw bales and the engine running.

These vehicles had not been visible from the farmhouse, he said.

He found Mr Strang lying beneath two of the bales and then telephoned the emergency services.

Mr Graham said: “Obviously he had sadly passed away. I rang 999 and shouted for my mother.”

A statement by South Central Ambulance Service said paramedics found Mr Strang had no pulse, no sign of breathing and fixed, dilated pupils and he was declared dead at 7.33pm.

The court also heard that a large strap was found hanging down from the trailer, with the middle strap removed and a gap where the bales had fallen from the trailer.

The heavy bales trapping Mr Strang required machinery to move them.

The task of loading the trailer and securing the straps was routinely carried out several times a day by Mr Strang, the court also heard.

According to Thames Valley Police statements, the middle set of the four foot by two foot bales had fallen over and the top two bales had toppled on to him.

The Health and Safety Executive had said, because Mr Strang was not employed at the farm, the incident was not classed as an industrial accident and therefore not subject to any investigation.

A toxicology report revealed tests for drugs or alcohol had proved negative.

A post mortem examination revealed no external or head injuries, but multiple broken bones.

According to his medical records, Mr Strang, a patient at Theale Medical Centre, had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis last year and had suffered from arm pains.

The cause of death was recorded as suffocation and fracture of the spine.

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