Builder, 23, died at Derbyshire firm’s construction site days before baby born
A heartbroken mum said her daughter will never get to know her “amazing dad” after an inquest found that he died due to an accident while working for a Derbyshire construction firm. “Gentle giant” Harry Cheston was working for Melfort Construction, a company based in Clay Cross, and was carrying out groundwork for a new block of apartments in Lincoln as part of a development known as Carruthers Court. The 23-year-old from Nottinghamshire died at the site on January 9, 2020, just days before his partner Lauren gave birth to their daughter Willow on January 20, reports Lincolnshire Live.
: Get the latest inquests from Derbyshire Live’s court reporters An inquest into Mr Cheston’s death was held at Myles Cross Centre in Lincoln in front of a jury, which concluded yesterday (February 16) that his death was accidental. The jury’s verdict was that the dumper truck being driven by Mr Cheston fell from an embankment on the site and ended up upside-down, trapping him inside and causing him to die from his injuries.
The inquest heard from pathologist Dr Frances Hollingbury who concluded that Mr Cheston died from crush asphyxia. The inquest into his death began on Monday, February 14, with the jury hearing that Mr Cheston was driving his dump truck to unload some spoil at a tipping point. Richard Heaven, who was also employed by Melfort Construction, was working with Harry on the morning of his death.
He told the inquest that the tipping point was being accessed by a “pier” at a higher level on the building site. The hearing was told that on January 9, the pier had barriers installed along the edge of the higher level and Mr Cheston asked if he could open these to unload spoil on the morning of his death. Mr Cheston was told by site supervisor Phillip Hayes to “open the barriers, tip the stuff, get off your dumper and close it again”, according to Mr Heaven.
Harry Cheston with his partner Lauren (Image: Sam Gimson)
Mr Hayes gave evidence to the inquest himself confirming that he was the site supervisor on the day of Mr Cheston’s death.
He confirmed that he did allow Mr Cheston to open the barriers on the pier, given that the access road also leading to the tipping point was blocked off. But he said “in hindsight” that it would have been more sensible to not have allowed Mr Cheston to tip at all, and that there should have been more safety measures on the site, such as a stop block at the end of the pier.
Tributes left at the site following Mr Cheston’s death (Image: Anna Draper/ Lincolnshire Echo)
Marianne Johnson, assistant coroner for Lincolnshire, said to the family following the jury’s verdict: “Harry died in such tragic circumstances and all I can do is extend my deepest condolences to you as a family.” Speaking following the delivery of the verdict, Harry’s family paid tribute to him as an “amazing person” who would “do anything for anyone”.
One of his brothers, Sam Gimson, said: “He was a lovely, hard-working young lad and he was such a massive family person and very family-orientated. “He loved watching his football club Notts County and watching the rugby because he wasn’t too much of a going-out person, he enjoyed being at home with his family.” Leisa Cheston, Harry’s mum, said: “He did love his family and he was putting all of his time into building a nursery for baby Willow and he’d literally just finished it.
“He didn’t have a nasty bone in his body and wouldn’t do anything to hurt anyone and I always called him my gentle giant. He was just beautiful, all my children are beautiful.” Speaking about her thoughts following the conclusion of the inquest, Harry’s partner Lauren added: “Harry was such an amazing person and he would have done anything for anyone.
“The inquest is over now but nothing is going to bring him back, and Willow has missed out on the opportunity of having an amazing dad.”
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