Jury hears of tragic Mitch's last hours
A coroner has been told how a Selston fairground worker was run over by a lorry he was working on while it was reversing.
Mitchell Price, 18, of Station Road, died of multiple injuries at his employer Spencer Hall’s fairground depot on Guildhall Drive, Pinxton, at just before 5.45am on May 27 last year.
The jury at his inquest heard how Mitchell, or ‘Mitch’ as he was better known, had been preparing with a co-worker and his employer to transport one of the rides to an event in Middlesborough.
While preparing the Dumbo ride they realised that an extension cable was required so decided to detach one from another ride called the Ghost Train.
But it soon became obvious they would need to reverse the Ghost Train trailer onto some higher ground in order to provide enough room underneath to safely reach the cable.
Luke Jackson, Mitch’s co-worker, told Derbyshire assistant coroner James Newman how he saw Mr Hall talking with Mitch at the vehicle’s rear and understood from Mr Hall’s hand gestures to Mitch he was telling the 18 year-old to stay where he was and that he was going to reverse the lorry.
He told the court how Mr Hall walked down the driver’s side to the cab where he was sitting and asked him to jump out and go to the rear of the vehicle and direct him as he reversed.
Mr Jackson said Mr Hall told him he had explained everything he was going to do to Mitch and that he had told the teenager to stay where he was.
He confirmed that when he got to the rear of the lorry Mitch had disappeared. He told Mr Newman this was nothing unusual and Mitch was known for wandering off in the middle of a job.
After the lorry had been reversed Mr Jackson said he was underneath it removing the cable when Mr Hall saw Mitch lying under the lorry and the depot-owner quickly moved the lorry forward, off Mitch.
David Story, a barrister for Mitch’s family, told Mr Jackson he could find no mention in two previous witness statements of the conversation between himself and Mr Hall in which Mr Hall said he had explained everything to Mitch.
The barrister also questioned Mr Hall about a grey matt which was found lying partially under the trailer. The showman said he had no idea how it had got there.
PC Dave Pygott, a Derbyshire Police collisions investigator, said the position of the lorry cab after it had been moved forward was at a slight angle to the trailer on the passenger side, where Mitch was found.
He confirmed that this would cause a widened passenger-side blindspot while reversing but was no way to be sure the lorry had not been straight when Mr Hall began reversing.
The jury found at some point prior to reversing Mitch had attempted to access the lorry’s underside from behind the rear axle and returned a verdict of accidental death.