Husband killed by washing machine

By David LennardA RETIRED naval officer was killed as he tried to repair his wife's washing machine, an inquest heard.Lieutenant-Commander John Lister, 67, a retired Royal Navy officer, died at his home in St Andrew's Road, Knodishall, near Leiston, on August 4.

By David Lennard

A RETIRED naval officer was killed as he tried to repair his wife's washing machine, an inquest heard.

Lieutenant-Commander John Lister, 67, a retired Royal Navy officer, died at his home in St Andrew's Road, Knodishall, near Leiston, on August 4.

It is believed that Mr Lister touched a live terminal after removing the top of the washing machine while it was still connected to the mains electricity supply.

Lowestoft coroner George Leguen de Lacroix recorded a verdict of accidental death at the inquest held in the town yesterday.

The coroner also issued a warning about the dangers of unqualified people working on electrical appliances.

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“No matter how experienced we think we are at working around the home, it is essential that whenever working on an electrical appliance, the electricity supply has to be disconnected,” said Mr Leguen de Lacroix.

Coroner's officer Dennis Collinson told the inquest he had interviewed Mr Lister's wife, Ling, about her husband's death.

“The couple had been having trouble with the washing machine for some time as it was noisy and getting the clothes in a tangle,” he said.

“An engineer had been called out to repair the machine earlier, but on Wednesday, August 4, it was still causing trouble.”

It was then that Mr Lister decided to see if he could repair the machine himself.

“He called out to his wife after he had removed the top of the machine, but before she could reach him she heard her husband cry out in anguish,” said Mr Collinson.

“Mrs Lister said her husband had 'turned blue' in the short time it took her to get to the laundry room.”

A post-mortem examination was carried out at Ipswich Hospital and it confirmed Mr Lister had died after receiving an electric shock.

Qualified electrician Stephen Vale, from Snape, near Leiston, was called to the house to make sure it was safe and he confirmed there had been no problems with the electricity supply.

“Mr Vale did say that by removing the top of the machine while it was still connected to the mains, Mr Lister would have exposed live terminals,” said Mr Collinson.

The coroner concluded: “It is clear that Mr Lister did touch one of the live terminals that had been exposed when he removed the top of the washing machine.”

A celebration of Mr Lister's life was held at the United Reformed Church, Leiston, on August 13.

david.lennard@eadt.co.uk

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