Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Electrocution Death Is Ruled an Accident; Inquest Jury Delivers Its Verdict after Days of Evidence

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Electrocution Death Is Ruled an Accident; Inquest Jury Delivers Its Verdict after Days of Evidence

Article excerpt

Byline: SARA NICHOL Reporter sara.nichol@ncjmedia.co.uk @SaraNichol10

A METRO worker electrocuted while working on overhead cables had suffered serious head injuries in a previous accident on the lines in 2002, it's been revealed.

John Bell was killed as he carried out maintenance work near the Nexus depot in Gosforth, Newcastle, in July 2014.

His inquest heard the 43-year-old thought he was working on an isolated wire but it was, in fact, live.

Mr Bell is believed to have grabbed the cable with both hands and died as a result of being electrocuted.

The inquest jury at Newcastle Crown Court returned a verdict of accidental death.

It is understood Mr Bell also suffered serious head injuries when he was involved in a previous accident while working on the Metro lines in 2002, although those injuries were in no way linked to his death 12 years later.

On that occasion, Nexus were fined PS16,000 in what was the company's first Health and Safety Prosecution.

A court in 2003 heard Mr Bell, from Killingworth, was working on overhead cables on the track between Jarrow and Hebburn when one of them snapped, catapulting him to the ground.

He suffered serious head and chest injuries, including losing a piece of his skull.

Nexus pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety guidelines at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court and were fined PS16,000.

However, during the inquest into Mr Bell's death, jurors were told the 2002 accident and his death in July 2014 were not linked.

A Nexus spokesperson said: "The Coroner's hearing was told any previous incidents had no relevance to the tragic accident John Bell suffered in 2014."

The inquest heard linesman patroller Mr Bell, who had 16 years of experience, was part of a team carrying out pre-planned repairs and maintenance on the Metro system in Gosforth on two dates in June and July 2014.

During the course of the work, one of two live overhead lines was supposed to be isolated and cut-off from the electrical supply. …

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