West Yorkshire family’s relief at inquest verdict

Andy Parkinson.
Andy Parkinson.
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THE family of a construction worker who fell 33ft to his death at a Leeds sewage plant have spoken of their relief after an inquest found he did not commit suicide.

Dad-of-two Andy Parkinson, 38, died from injuries he suffered in the fall at Yorkshire Water’s Knostrop works in 2008.

An inquest jury at Leeds Coroner’s Court found the 6ft 5ins worker was given “inadequate” instructions and was not given documented warnings about his unsafe working practices.

Speaking after the 10-day hearing, which ruled out suggestions made earlier that he had committed suicide, Mr Parkinson’s mum Pat said: “We have had it hanging over us for two years, it was such a big relief.

“I never believed he could have committed suicide, I was devastated enough.

“He was a Peter Pan person, he loved his children and I know he wouldn’t have done that.”

Mr Parkinson, of Tidswell Street, Heckmondwike, was employed by Heckmondwike firm Rhodes Engineering Group Ltd but was sub-contracted by another firm to help construct metal walkways above and around sewage tanks.

The inquest jury heard that despite wearing a safety harness, Mr Parkinson fell on to a concrete surface. He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics on Thursday, November 13, 2008.

During the inquest, suggestions he had taken his own life were ruled out by Assistant Deputy Coroner Kevin McLoughlin.

In its narrative verdict, the jury said: “Undue pressure was placed on Andrew Parkinson to progress the installation of the walkway.

“The jury believes that on the balance of all probability documented warnings were not given to Andrew Parkinson which would highlight his unsafe working practices.”

James McBride, of Eatons Solicitors, which represented the family, added: “Andy’s family were appalled at the suggestion that he had taken his own life. Andy was a big man with a big heart.”