Teacher's death was accidental
10 March 2010, 15:23
THE grieving family of a teacher who was crushed to death in a wheelie bin yesterday welcomed an inquest jury's verdict that it was a tragic accident.
Scott Williams' family originally said they suspected foul play after his body was found at a rubbish sorting depot in Newhaven, East Sussex, last July.
His mother Marion, brother Tony and best friend Malcolm Freghey, flew from their home in Hamilton, New Zealand, for this week's inquiry into his gruesome death.
After listening to two days of evidence, they said they were satisfied nobody else was involved and welcomed new safety regulations being brought in to prevent similar tragedies.
Mr Williams, 35, from Dollis Hill, London, is thought to have crawled into a commercial bin somewhere in Hove to sleep off a night's drinking after making a last minute decision to stay down for the night.
The Hove inquest heard he had arranged to stay at his flatmate's mother's home in the city and had a second option of sleeping at his brother's girlfriend's flat.
Despite having money and his friend's number in his mobile phone, he never made it back to either address.
He was last seen on CCTV just before 3am helping a young woman he had met in a pub that night into a taxi on the seafront outside the Thistle Hotel, then walking back into town on another security camera.
Horrified staff at the Wastetech waste transfer station found him among food scraps from restaurant bins the following Monday morning.
Post mortem tests showed the Kiwi was three times over the drink drive limit and died of crush injuries to his chest, probably caused when his bin was emptied into a mechanical dust truck on the early Sunday morning round.
After the inquest, Mrs Williams said her sports-mad son was a "wonderful person" who was very much missed.
Mr Freghey fought back tears as he added: "Scott was my best friend and best man at my wedding.
"He had a wonderful sense of humour and was very generous to people.
"He was caring and looked after his friends and was all for going out and doing and was always up for something.
"He loved his family and was very close to them and planned on coming home after being in England for six years.
"Scott loved his sport, music and going to festivals and travelling.
"One of the things we wanted to achieve was getting procedures put in place to stop this happening again. We are happy something is being done about it."
The tragedy was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after two similar deaths in Nottingham and Manchester last year.
There were also at least four near misses in the Brighton area last year when homeless people were found sleeping in large wheelie bins.
The HSE report recommending new safety guidelines will be published next month.
It is expected to recommend compulsory locks, warning signs and secured areas for commercial bins and extra training for refuse collection crews.
A Wastetech spokesman said: "Scott's death was a tragedy and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.
"Any guidance from the HSE will be taken extremely seriously."