Coventry & Warwickshire

Engineer's lift shaft death ruled 'misadventure'

James Merritt Image copyright Kimberley Merritt
Image caption James Merritt was loved by all who knew him, his family said

The death of an engineer killed in a lift shaft fall has been ruled as misadventure.

An inquest heard James Merritt, an engineering surveyor with Zurich, had been carrying out a lift inspection at a technology company in Warwick and was found at the bottom of a lift shaft.

The father-of-two was pronounced dead at the scene, the inquest heard.

Jurors reached the conclusion following the hearing at Warwickshire Justice Centre.

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Summarising the evidence given during the hearing, assistant coroner Delroy Henry told the jury that on 11 October 2016, Mr Merritt, 39, of Cherry Lane, Hampton Magna, Warwick, had been inspecting the lift at Telent Technology Services.

A pathologist gave the medical cause of death as severe head injury with multiple skull fractures.

'Loved by all'

In his summary, Mr Henry told jurors of evidence given by Health and Safety Executive specialist inspector Michael Cooke, who had examined the lift shaft following Mr Merritt's death.

Mr Cooke had said that while the lift switch was in inspection mode, the light at the top of the lift was "poor", and he observed a number of trip hazards.

Jurors concluded Mr Merritt fell down the lift shaft while carrying out an inspection.

Mr Merritt's family described him as a "kind, caring and intelligent man" who was "loved by all who knew him".

"James devoted his career to ensuring that people were safe and this tragic accident has taken him from us all too soon," a statement said.

In a statement Zurich added: "We are still deeply shocked and saddened by the death of our colleague James last year, and our thoughts remain with his family, friends and colleagues.

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