Inquest jury concludes Ironbridge Power Station accident happened in 'unknown circumstances'

A jury has concluded that a man who died three weeks after breaking his leg at Ironbridge Power Station died from the "combined effects of an accident and natural causes".

The Ironbridge Power Station site before the towwers were demolished
The Ironbridge Power Station site before the towwers were demolished

But the jury of 10 men and women were unable to conclude how Paul Alexander Wilson, aged 51, of Rugeley, in Staffordshire had suffered a broken right tibia (shinbone) on Valentine's Day 2021.

The jury forewoman said the accident had been in "unknown circumstances" and it was a conclusion that all members of the jury had reached unanimously in their short deliberations.

Members of the jury had been asked to try to decide between two versions of how the accident might have happened.

Mr Wilson died at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital on March 4. He had an operation on his broken right tibia and had contracted Covid while in hospital.

The three-day inquest, at Shirehall, in Shrewsbury, heard that the only eyewitness, Robert Lynn, had told the Health & Safety Executive that his colleague had tripped. But at the witness stand he admitted lying and said he had been asked by Mr Wilson to stick to the story but was glad that the truth was out.

Summing up on Wednesday morning, Senior Shropshire Coroner John Ellery said: "Bluntly, was he (Mr Lynn) lying when he made his statement to the Health and Safety Executive or did he perjure himself when he spoke on oath?"

The jury of 10 men and women has been tasked with trying to decide how Mr Wilson had come by his injury. His death was attributed to pulmonary thromboembolism, a fractured right tibia and Covid-19. Medics concluded that his death was contributed to by an elevated body mass index (30) and ventricular hypertrophy.

Mr Ellery also asked the jury to decide which version of the incident that Mr Wilson gave his widow Lorraine on Valentine's Day, 2021 they believed. He had been taking down plastic sheeting in an operation to clear asbestos from the car park under the power station's administration block.

Mr Ellery recalled that Mr Wilson had told his wife in a first phone call that he had tripped down a manhole. But she told the inquest on Monday that she believed her husband had lied because of the extent of the injury. During a second phone call to his wife, Mr Wilson had admitted lying and said he had been on a scaffolding tower.

"Which of these two versions given to Mrs Wilson do you believe?" the coroner asked.

Mr Ellery asked the jurors to apply common sense to their conclusion, but not to speculate.

"You can record that it was through unknown circumstances," said Mr Ellery.

He added that the jury may find that Mr Wilson died through the combined effect of the injury and a natural cause (Covid).

Mr Ellery said the jury's conclusion does not indicate civil or criminal liability, just a short conclusion of what occurred.

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