Grandfather Douglas Skinner ‘flew’ from cherry picker after being hit by lorry, inquest told

The inquest is being held at Beacon House, Ipswich.

The inquest is being held at Beacon House, Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

A grandfather was thrown from a cherry picker after it was struck by a lorry at his work in Felixstowe, an inquest has heard.

At the hearing which started today, the jury was told Douglas Skinner, 67, of Chesterton Close, Ipswich, was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, with life-threatening injuries after the accident SPR Trailer Services Ltd in Walton Avenue on January 23, 2015. He died two days later.

At the time of his death, Mr Skinner, a semi-retired trailer fitter at SPR Trailer Services Ltd, was replacing the company’s signs at the entrance to its premises while standing in a cherry picker, also known as a scissor lift.

Colleague Paul Atkins, who was helping Mr Skinner, said the signs were on 10ft high metal posts arranged in a ‘V’ and that the cherry picker was not in the best place to do the work.

“We both decided to move the cherry picker,” Mr Atkins, a trailer mechanic, told the inquest. “It was moved from in between the posts to near the road but did not obstruct it.

“Our HGV, which was pulling a 40ft curtainside trailer, pulled up next to the signs. The lorry was close, but not close enough for me to have concerns.”

The inquest heard the lorry turned left and as it moved, the cherry picker flew 90 degrees clockwise and tipped onto its side.

Most Read

Mr Atkins said: “It was as if the scissor lift was being pulled along and Doug flew out of the top.

“I ran around and saw him in the road and tried to give him first aid. He was in and out of consciousness and was taking one deep gasping breath to a few shallow ones. I used my gloves to cover the wound on his head.”

In a statement read by assistant coroner, Nigel Parsley, Paul Arbon, who was refurbishing SPR’s office, said: “I heard a bang. It was metal on metal. I saw Doug on his back about six feet away from the scissor lift.

“Initially I thought he was just winded but it became clear he was not in a good state.”

In a statement, Stuart Daynes, SPR‘s administration manager, said: “Since the accident, the company has done more health and safety training. I think the company has a robust health and safety policy.”

A Health and Safety Executive investigation is ongoing.

The inquest, which is being presided over by a jury at Beacon House in Ipswich, is expected to last five days and continues tomorrow.