Ipswich: Inquest jury to decide on tyre death tragedy

AN INQUEST jury is set to start its deliberations today to establish the circumstances of the death of a mechanical engineer.

Gary Deaves, of Churchill Avenue, died in May 2010 as a result of the injuries he sustained when a tyre exploded in his face.

He had been removing a multi-piece tyre from a forklift truck in the moments leading up to his death.

He died six weeks after the accident which happened on March 30, 2010, having undergone treatment at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridgeshire.

Dr Peter Dean, Greater Suffolk coroner, said Mr Deaves’ cause of death had been bilateral bronchopneumonia, while he had also suffered severe head injuries.

After hearing two days’ of evidence, the jury will establish whether to record an accidental, open or narrative verdict in relation to the death of the father-of-two.

The inquest heard from a series of tyre experts who supplied three possible causes for the tyre exploding.

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Summarising the findings, Dr Dean said reports by the Health and Safety Executive suggested that parts of the inner wheel had displaced or become partially displaced causing it to bulge at the sides.

It was said that when Mr Deaves began taking the bolts off the tyre, the pressure of the expanding wheel had eventually lead to the explosion.

Dr Dean said: “When Gary Deaves was in the process of removing the bolts there reached a point when there was nothing to hold the build-up pressure and a point was reached where there was an explosive surge of pressure.

“Gary would have been blown back by the explosion which caused him to suffer significant injuries.”

Potential causes put forward by other experts were that issues surrounding the outer wheel of the tyre had been the problem while others believed that corrosion led to a great amount of pressure building up and that the explosion was a “sudden” occurrence.

None of the experts were able to agree on one exact cause, however all agreed that they could not completely rule out each possibility.

The inquest also heard that since Mr Deaves’ death the executive has enforced new guidelines which state that tyres should be deflated before being removed from a vehicle.

Dr Dean added: “We know that a solution is now in place to ensure that other families do not have to go through what the Deaves family have been through.

“We have different causes from our experts but all agree on the solutions.”

The inquest is due to continue today.