Accidental death verdict for carpenter

THE DEATH of a popular carpenter at one of Suffolk’s most famous estates was accidental, an inquest has heard.

Robert Webb, of Vicarage Road, Thetford, died from his injuries after he fell, possibly from a ladder, while working at Elveden Estate, near Thetford, in October.

An investigation into the death of the 64-year-old by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is still ongoing, a spokeswoman for the HSE said.

The 22,000-acre estate is owned by the Earl of Iveagh and the Guinness family. The family was named second wealthiest in East Anglia in the 2010 Sunday Times Rich List.

The Earl of Iveagh is a direct descendant of brewer Arthur Guinness, who invented the classic stout in 1759.


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Yesterday’s inquest in Bury St Edmunds found Mr Webb had died from a brain haemorrhage after an accidental fall.

On October 29 the self-employed carpenter, who rented a workshop at the estate, had been carrying out work at a flat at a converted stable block.

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He was due to work on two first floor window sashes at a flat occupied by Rachel Carter, who is believed to have been the last person to have seen him before he was found with a head injury.

The inquest heard how Mr Webb had her asked her to move her car from outside the window so he could put his ladder up.

Postman Peter Coleman was on his regular round when he discovered Mr Webb, a bachelor, lying on the ground next to a ladder at about 9.40am.

Mr Webb was taken by air ambulance to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where he died the following the day from a head injury, consistent with having fallen from a ladder.

The inquest heard how the surface on which he was found was extremely slippy brick-like tiles.

Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean said: “So it’s not certain exactly how the fall itself occurred, but from the police report CID state there’s no evidence of any third party involved and we heard of the treacherous nature of the surface itself and it does appear, however the fall occurred, it was an accidental fall.”

The inquest heard how Mr Webb was known for his personality and was a talented musician who had played in a couple of local bands, including the Thetford Salvation Army band.

Speaking afterwards, Territorial Envoy Val Chaplin, of the Thetford Corps of the Salvation Army, said more than 260 people attended his funeral at the Methodist Church in Thetford in November, at which his band-mates played.

She described Mr Webb, who also played for the Breckland Brass Band, as a “kind man” and an “excellent craftsman”.

She said: “He’s very missed. We still think about him now. All the time.”

She said Mr Webb, who played the cornet, had probably been with their band for 50 or so years.

His cousin Derek Rutterford, 65, from Thetford, said his death was a “great loss”.

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