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    INQUEST: LACK OF IMAGES FRUSTRATES CORONER

    Fall from scaffold during heating pipe replacement

    It has been reported (9th May) by West End Extra that a coroner has said a “frustrating lack of knowledge” has restricted investigation into the death of construction worker Gary Kiff.

    Mr Kiff, aged 54, spent seven months in a coma after falling from scaffolding as he replaced heating pipes in an underground car park at a block of flats in London. The inquest jury at the Royal Courts of Justice returned a verdict of accidental death.

    Jurors heard that Mr Kiff sustained severe head injuries when he fell from a free-standing scaffold tower at 1.5 metres from the ground as he worked on pipes that supply hot water to flats on the Kingston House estate.

    Just ‘disappeared’ from the platform

    His colleague John O’Sullivan was stood on the scaffolding alongside Mr Kiff and told the inquest that he “just disappeared” from the platform they were working on.

    Mr Kiff was using a three-foot wrench to remove the pipes and was “pulling to the extent of having his whole body weight behind it and his wrench slipped”.

    He was taken to St Mary’s hospital in Paddington where he underwent surgery for head injuries before being moved to the Gardens Neurological Centre in Hertfordshire where he remained until his death. At no point after the fall did he regain consciousness.

    Mr Kiff used equipment already at the site and was contracted to do the work by Daystone Services Ltd, who look after the Kingston House flats.

    When company director William Welling investigated the following day the tower had “disappeared” thereby impeding attempts to establish if there were any faults with the scaffolding.

    Mr Wellings told the court he “would have expected” the scaffolding to be left in place so it could be inspected, but added:

    “When I went back the next day the scaffolding had been moved. I don’t know why.”

    Coroner Kevin McGloughlin said there was “a frustrating lack of knowledge as to what happened”, adding: “The inquest would have been aided no end by photographs.”

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