Contractors warned to review procedures to avoid recurrence of events that led to death of Matthew Wilmot
The death of a 40-year-old father of two, Matthew Wilmot, from Luton was accidental, a coroner has decided.
Matthew fell into a five-foot deep excavated hole in his road. The acting senior coroner for the Bedfordshire and Luton area, Ian Pears, found that his death, although accidental, was due to unsecured barriers surrounding the hole.
He issued a ‘future deaths avoidance’ recommendation, stating that both M&S Water and B&D Civil Engineering needed to review procedures to ensure such an occurrence was not repeated.
On the morning of Thursday 25 May 2017, a two-man team from B&D Civil Engineering, contracted by M&S Water, arrived at Devon Road, excavated a hole and erected barriers around their work area. M&S was itself contracted by Amey Utility Services to dig the hole on behalf of Affinity Water.
M&S Water then arranged a team to go back to the site on Tuesday 30 May to continue the work.
However, on the afternoon of 27 May, Matthew met with a friend to watch the FA Cup Final, returning home by taxi around 12.35am. His friend reports dropping him at the end of his road. What happened next is unclear but just hours later, at around 7.15am on Sunday 28 May, Matthew was found upside down in the hole. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Affinity Water, Amey Utility Services Ltd, M&S Water and B&D Civil Engineering were all represented as interested parties at the inquest.
The post-mortem recorded as the cause of death high blood ethanol concentration consistent with significant intoxication, together with fatal hypoxia.
Tania Banks, Matthew’s partner, says: “Matthew and I shared 24 years together in a wonderful, loving relationship that produced our two fantastic children. Losing Matthew has been an indescribably painful experience for us.
“Nothing is ever going to be the same again. The children and I have to walk past the spot where we lost Matthew everyday. That’s how close he was to coming home that night.
“The whole family has said repeatedly for the past year that if the site had been properly secured, we would not have lost the man we all loved. We are relieved that the inquest is now over and we can finally start to try and move on.”
Riffat Yaqub, a personal injury partner at London law firm Hodge Jones & Allen, is acting for Matthew’s family. She says: “Today’s conclusion reflects what the family had thought, that the excavation site had not been properly secured and posed an extreme hazard to pedestrians. The inquest into Matthew’s death has been a long time coming, and his family are reassured by the coroners recommendations (to avoid future deaths ) that following this tragic and avoidable accident those carrying out such works will have to do more to safeguard public’ safety.”
For further information, please contact:
Lizzie Hannaway at Black Letter Communications
020 3567 1208
Notes for Editors
Hodge Jones and Allen
- Hodge Jones and Allen is one of the UK’s most progressive law firms, renowned for doing things differently and fighting injustice. Its managing partner is Patrick Allen.
- For almost 40 years’ the firm has been at the centre of many of the UK’s landmark legal cases that have changed the lives and rights of many people.
- The firm’s team of specialists have been operating across: Personal Injury, Medical Negligence, Industrial Disease, Civil Liberties, Criminal Defence, Court of Protection, Dispute Resolution, Employment, Family Law, Military Claims, Serious Fraud, Social Housing, Wills & Probate and Property Disputes.
- In 2016 the firm launched Hearing their voices – a campaign to raise awareness and build conversations around the issues and the injustices we might all face.