Whistleblower told truth about Clevedon builder killed on Portishead job

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By Local_Andy | Friday, June 10, 2011, 16:11

A VERDICT of accidental death has finally been given after a young builder from Clevedon was crushed by a tipper truck on a job in Portishead.

 

But the truth about the incident was only discovered after a colleague's conscience got the better of him, an inquest heard.

Paul Thorogood died as a result of pelvic injuries a day after being trapped against a stone wall when the truck rolled backwards down a driveway in 2007.

 

It has taken four years for his inquest to be held because of a spur-of-the-moment cover up by his boss and workmates.

 

Acting coroner Maria Voisin only yesterday passed a verdict at Avon Coroners' Court in Flax Bourton of accidental death for the tragic incident.

 

The 22-year-old's boss Kevin White and employees Martin Crocker and William Wright panicked after Mr Thorogood was pinned at a home in West Hill Road, Portishead.

 

He was rushed to the Bristol Royal Infirmary where he had emergency surgery but died the next day.

 

The men had been resurfacing the driveway and the inquest heard Mr Crocker had tried to move the truck while wearing big boots in wet conditions and slipped on the brake.

 

White, Crocker and Wright told police at the time that Mr Thorogood, of Oldville Avenue in Clevedon, had been hit by a Ford Transit van for which Crocker was insured.

 

But nearly two years after Mr Thorogood's death and just before the initial inquest was about to take place, Wright walked into a Bristol police station "wanting to act as a whistleblower," Detective Constable Ian Prideaux (CORR) told the inquest.

 

Clutching a statement written after consulting a solicitor, he told police the truth.

 

"In simple terms his conscience got the better of him," said DC Prideaux.

 

Mr Thorogood was actually crushed by an uninsured, three-sided Bedford tipper truck belonging to White which was declared off the road. Crocker wasn't familiar with the controls which led in part to his foot slipping off the brake, the inquest heard.

 

While the young employee lay fatally injured, White, who owned the tipper, rushed to move it round the corner and switch it with the white transit van, with the help of Crocker.

 

He even went to the extent of trying to claim on the Transit van's insurance in respect of the incident – but his policy had expired DC Prideaux told the inquest yesterday.

Before Wright revealed the true story, White was fined £650 by the Health and Safety Executive for not having liability insurance for his firm.

 

Wright was cautioned by police for his part in the cover up and in June last year White and Crocker pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to perverting the course of justice.

 

White, of Brookfield Walk, Clevedon was given a 12-month community order with 150 hours unpaid work.

 

Crocker, of Crawford Close, Clevedon was given a 12-month community order with 120 hours unpaid work.

 

DC Prideaux told the court both men were remorseful in interview when the truth came out and said they had suffered from depression and struggled to work since the incident.

 

The inquest heard boss White had gone bankrupt as a result.

Paul's father Ian, supported at the hearing by his wife, their two other children and Paul's girlfriend Danielle Goatly, said: "We are relieved that this tragic incident has come to a close.

 

"The past few years have been difficult for us and we still miss Paul every day.

 

"We would like to thank family, friends and the police for their kindness and on-going support."

      

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