Two men who fell into slurry pit at Yorkshire farm died accidentally, jury rules

The incident happened at a pig farm on Sunk Island
The incident happened at a pig farm on Sunk Island
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A JURY has ruled that two men who died after falling into a slurry pit died accidentally.

The panel of five women and four men took an hour to reach a unanimous conclusion at the end of a two-day inquest in Hull.

Alexander Forman, 32 and Richard Pooley, 36, died when they tried to unblock a pipe in a slurry pit at Newlands Farm, Sunk Island, East Yorkshire, two-and-a-half years ago.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation is continuing.

Coroner Prof Paul Marks told the jury the finding of accidental death “would not imply whether anyone was to blame or not to blame - merely that it was an unintended consequence.”

The jury found they entered the slurry pit between 2.20pm and 2.30pm, on December 14 2015, and died as a result of inhalation of slurry. Their bodies were discovered two hours later.

The court heard the decomposition of slurry released gases, including noxious hydrogen sulphide and methane, and created an oxygen deficient atmosphere, which could have caused the men to lose consciousness and fall from a ladder into the waste.

Mr Forman, the farm manager, was part of a partnership with his parents Susan and Robert Forman, based at Newlands Farm, which finished pigs on contract for Yorkwold Pigpro Ltd.

Mr Forman senior had said there was a standing instruction that no one should enter the reception pit “under any circumstances” and he believed both men, who were experienced stockmen, knew the risks associated with slurry.

However the inquest also heard from Amanda Pooley, Mr Pooley’s partner, who said he had jumped into an outside slurry pit previously to rescue a pig which had fallen in.

Coroner Prof Paul Marks thanked the families for their patience and dignity and offered his condolences for their tragic loss.