Dedham: Electrocuted builder’s death was an accident

Father-of-three Paul Hamlyn, 44, of Chase Road West in Great Bromley, was killed when he touched a live cable at a house in Forge Street, Dedham.

Owner of the semi-detached five-bedroom property, Alan Wright, gave evidence at the inquest which was held yesterday in County Hall, Chelmsford.

“I had come downstairs to get my mobile phone when I saw Paul lying on the floor, face down, with one hand under the sink,” said Mr Wright. “I stepped over him and went to the car.

“When I came back he was still in the same position. I asked him if he was ok and he didn’t respond so I tapped his foot and realised he wasn’t moving.

“I began to panic and called my partner Carol who was upstairs. We tried to turn him over and realised what had happened. There was a cable by his feet.”

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Mr Hamlyn, who has three daughters, Michelle, Laura and Sarah, was found dead at the scene on December 6, 2007.

Insp Gary Chapman of Essex Police responded to a 999 call at about 4pm and the air ambulance and paramedics were already in attendance when he arrived.

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He told the inquest that the wire was about 8ft in length and came from the utility room to the kitchen, and that the exposed wires were “quite close” to the victim’s side when he was discovered.

Insp Chapman added that it was the view of the officer in charge that it “was not suspicious”.

Mr Wright had employed Mr Hamlyn, a self-employed builder, to help finish off the renovation work to the property, including the construction of a stud wall around a toilet and the removal of a sink in the utility room.

“We had the toilet macerator changed about six or eight weeks ago and the plumber had put it on a normal plug and not rewired it back into the fuse box,” he said.

“Paul said he knew someone who could do any electrical work if it needed doing. I can’t think of any reason why he moved the wire. I think he was reaching up for his tool box.”

Lesley Balkham, from the Health and Safety Executive, said that Mr Hamlyn had probably carried the live wire from the utility room to the kitchen and that she could find “no reason” for his actions.

A post-mortem at Colchester General Hospital concluded that the victim had died of electrocution.

Mr Hamlyn’s wife, Lesley Hamlyn, said the family expected the court to find that the death was accidental.

Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray instructed the jury to record that Mr Hamlyn died as a result of an accident. In their statement the jury said: “Paul Hamlyn was electrocuted as a result of coming into contact with a live conductor.”

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