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INQUEST: BUILDERS PANICKED AND ‘DUMPED’ BODY

Coroner hears how alcohol triggered ladder fall fatality  

An inquest reported by the Mail Online has heard how builders on a construction project panicked when a fellow worker died after he fell from a ladder. The workmen had been drinking and dumped his body on an estate in Buckinghamshire.

The men had been working on a ‘bitterly cold’ day in a house in Maidenhead, on January 24 2012,  and they decided to go to a local shop and buy vodka. Mr Karpuc fell as he climbed down a ladder landing on his chest and puncturing his lung. He died almost immediately. The body was discovered four days later on Wooburn Common by a shooting party including Lord Burnham.

Det Sergeant Paul Quinton said:

“The weather was particularly foul and to keep warm they all decided to drink neat vodka. Over the course of the day the deceased and his work colleagues purchased a bottle of vodka each from a local store and shared the contents amongst themselves. This is believed to have resulted in high levels of intoxication.”

A post mortem examination revealed that Mr Karpuc suffered an intrapulmonary haemorrhage in the presence of alcohol following a fall from height. A toxicology report showed he had 284mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (some three-and-a-half times the drink-drive limit).

Karen Morris of HSE told the inquest: 

“supervisor Michael O’Heney had been away from the site, and had not known that his workers had been drinking – or what had happened to Mr Karpuc. He is very shocked by this, I have no reason to believe Mr O’Heney knew there was drinking on his site, I don’t think it was a regular occurrence and there is no suggestion he was condoning this behaviour” 

The inquest jury recorded a verdict of accidental death. The hearing was also told that Mr Karpuc’s colleagues are the subject of legal proceedings due to be heard at Reading Crown Court. They have been charged with obstructing a coroner.

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