Northampton

Nightfreight runaway lorry 'crushed driver' at Earls Barton

A driver was crushed to death when a runaway lorry pushed him against another at a freight company in Northamptonshire, an inquest has heard.

Russell Homer, 44, died at Nightfreight Distribution Earls Barton in December 2010, when the lorry he had been driving rolled forward.

A hearing at Northampton Crown Court was told Mr Homer, of Overstone, may not have applied the handbrake.

Coroner Anne Pember recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The inquest was told the father-of-two suffered a serious chest injury when the vehicle he was about to drive rolled down a slope.

The vehicle, which can weigh 28 tonnes when fully loaded, crushed him against a stationary heavy goods vehicle before travelling 88ft (27m) and hitting a wall.

Vehicle inspector John Cripps, who later looked at the lorry from inside the cab, told the inquest he turned down its loud radio and could then hear the handbrake warning device.

The firm had issued new safety guidelines to all of its staff, including Mr Homer, after a previous incident occurred when a vehicle rolled away from another driver in 2008.

The company's health and safety adviser Andrew Knight said since Mr Homer's death it had introduced increased signs reminding drivers to use their handbrakes.