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DEATH OF RETIRED BUILDER IN SEA FRONT WALL FALL

Inquest hears how ‘safety gone mad’ debate delayed erection of railings  

An inquest into the death of Alan Harding (aged 76) has been widely reported.

Mr Harding lost his life during a visit to the seaside at Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. He died after falling 4m from the sea front wall to a pathway fracturing his skull.

The inquest heard that plans to erect ‘rails’ on the wall were condemned as “health and safety gone mad” by a local councillor leading to a delay in erection of the rails. Solicitor for the family John Baden-Daintree said “health and safety is there to prevent deaths, it is not ‘gone mad’.”

The inquest heard evidence that it was impossible to ascertain whether a heart attack or the fall had come first. Avon Coroner Maria Voisin recorded a narrative verdict and said it was unnecessary to make recommendations as the railings have now been installed.

His wife Rosemary said after the inquest, said:

“It does help to hear what happened. Right at the beginning I knew the fall hastened his death. If safety barriers had been there he wouldn’t have been able to sit on the wall. It was preventable.”

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