Man died after trench collapsed at building site, coroner hears

Cordons were in place at a house in Woodbridge on Wednesday

Dale Baker died at a property in Woodbridge in December 2020 - Credit: Charlotte Bond

The inquest onto the death of Dale Baker, who died at a building site in Woodbridge, was opened today at Suffolk Coroners Court.

Mr Baker, 30, from Felixstowe, died on Tuesday, December 15 at a property in Haughgate Close Woodbridge where a two-storey extension was being built to the side of the existing property.

The coroner heard Mr Baker was working as a labourer for Hinton Wood Construction East Anglia as a casual labourer that day, having previously worked for the company on this and other sites.

He had previously been involved in a major landscaping project in the rear garden of the address including the construction of a three-metre-high Gabion Wall to the rear of the property and the excavation of the north boundary to make way for the foundations of the extension.

The coroner heard that police were called shortly after 4.30pm on December 15 following the reported collapse of an open trench. Mr Baker was left trapped beneath the rubble and fallen material after the concrete footings of the conservatory adjacent to the trench gave way.


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The fire service, ambulance and those at the scene worked to free Mr Baker using specialist equipment, but were unable to do so and he was pronounced dead at 5.47pm that day.

A Post-Mortem examination took place on December 2021 Ipswich Hospital  and the cause of death was recorded as traumatic asphyxia.  Toxicology samples were also taken at the request of police and no alcohol or drugs were detected.

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A joint investigation between the police and Health and Safety Executive is underway to investigate the circumstances leading to the death of Mr Baker.

The inquest was adjourned for further work to be completed and a case review will be held by the Coroner on July 20 and a full an Inquest date has been booked for October 26 which is expected to last three days.

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