Leeds abseil death tragedy of company director, 64

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THE DIRECTOR of a company which installs lightning protection systems fell unconscious after suffering neck compression while abseiling down a building in Leeds and later died, a jury inquest heard.

Joseph Johnson, 64, was installing aluminium lightning conductor tape at the side of Canon House on Dewsbury Road, Beeston, when he got into difficulties just after 12pm on Friday March 24 2014, Wakefield Coroner’s Court was told.

Fire crews using an aerial ladder platform brought Mr Johnson down from where he was suspended at the side of the fourth storey of the building.

Mr Johnson, managing director of Johnson Technical Services Ltd, was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead at 1.30pm that afternoon.

A post mortem revealed Mr Johnson, of Inman Grove, Knaresborough, died of hypoxia after his body was deprived of sufficient oxygen due to neck compression from a strap or rope.

Mr Johnson was on his final abseil as he finished off installing lightning conductor tape.

Mr Johnson’s son Samuel had been working with his father at the building that morning but left for a doctor’s appointment before the tragedy happened.

Joseph and Samuel Johnson and another employee, Ashley Spence, had all previously completed abseils that morning.

Giving evidence, Mr Spence said was on the roof of the building when Mr Johnson began the final abseil.

Mr Spence said Mr Johnson was and was around two to three metres from the top of the building when he got into difficulty. Deputy Coroner Kevin McCloughlin asked him: “Did you see him struggling?” Mr Spence replied: “I did, I was trying to pull him up.” Mr McCloughlin asked: “Could you think of any reason why he couldn’t just lower himself down?” Mr Spence replied: “I don’t know.” Proceeding.

Kevin Hollinrake MP for Thirsk and Malton Picture: Anna Gowthorpe

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