Inquest begins for construction worker who died at Premier Inn site

David Lee and Grace Witherden

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An inquest into the death of a young construction worker who died while working on Maidenhead’s new Premier Inn started today.

Benjamin Wylie, 24, from Swindon, died at the West Street building site on Tuesday, May 13, 2014.

Jurors at Reading Coroner's Court heard how Mr Wylie started working on the site just a week before his death.

The court was told that the 24-year-old was part of the team responsible for working on the site’s two piling rigs which are used to drive poles into the ground to provide buildings with foundation support.

The first day of the inquest, which is expected to last more than a week, focused on the equipment Mr Wylie had been working with.

Mr Wylie’s co-worker Robert Foster was the first to give evidence this morning.

He told the court that the day before Mr Wylie’s death, he heard a ‘loud bang’ while he was reversing his Soilmec SR 70 Piling Rig.

His colleagues came over to the rig and saw that a small metal part, known as a 'grease nipple', had broken off, causing grease to leak out of the machine.

The damage was reported, Mr Foster said, but repairs could not be carried out until the following day.

The jury also heard evidence from Noel Kearney, who had been called to repair the grease nipple.

Mr Kearney had arrived at the site on the Tuesday and taken the nipple off site to be repaired.

The jury heard how he carried out a repair by welding a smaller nipple onto the damaged part.

Coroner Peter Bedford asked Mr Kearney if, rather than doing the welding, it occurred to him to buy a new nipple and adaptor.

Mr Kearney invoked his right not to answer.

He was also asked if he knew a replacement part was ready and available and Mr Kearney again chose not to answer.

When asked if he discussed his repairs with anyone on site he said he could not remember.

The inquest continues tomorrow.

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