Corrie McKeague coroner issues report to prevent future deaths following inquest into disappearance from Bury St Edmunds
A coroner has sent a report to prevent future deaths to four organisations after the inquest into the death of RAF serviceman Corrie McKeague.
Nigel Parsley, senior coroner for Suffolk, sent the report to the British Standards Institute, the Container Handling Equipment Manufacturers' Association, Dennis Eagle Ltd (refuse collection truck manufacturer) and Biffa Waste Services following the inquest's conclusion last month.
The jury at the inquest into the death of Corrie, who went missing after a night out in Bury St Edmunds in September 2016, found the cause of death to be ‘compression asphyxia in association with multiple injuries’.
Following an inquest, a coroner legally has the power to write a report to people or organisations they believe are in a position to take action to reduce the risk of a death in similar circumstances in the future.
Recipients must reply within 56 days, detailing the action they intend to take.
CCTV footage last pictured Corrie walking into a horseshoe area behind shops in Bury.
A commercial waste bin collected from the rear of Greggs weighed significantly more than normal, leading to the hypothesis Corrie, due to impaired judgement resulting from alcohol consumption, could have been in the bin.
Mr Parsley was prompted to request a PFD due to his concerns over the significant and fatal risks to people in bins.
The inquest had heard evidence from a Biffa representative that over a period of six years there were 740 incidents of people in bins.
The coroner listed four concerns in the PFD: ineffective bin locks; ineffective search of the bin; any driver not having the means to search the bin thoroughly or safely and poor visibility through the lorry's acrylic viewing window.
The locks were described as ‘not robust’ and ‘due to their design the locks were also frequently broken’. The coroner said if stronger locks were fitted the number of reported incidents of people in bins (10 a week) was likely to be reduced.
In reference to the poor visibility, it is physically impossible to undertake a check of the hopper mechanism on the Biffa lorry as the viewing aperture window is too high, while on the six-year-old vehicle in question the acrylic had become opaque.
Craig Knightley of Tees Law, solicitors representing the family, said: "The family are grateful for the diligence of the jury.
"The fact there were more than 740 incidents over a six year period of people in bins, with the obvious and significant risks including fatality, indicate this was a tragedy waiting to happen.
"The family would like to thank the coroner not only for his compassion throughout the inquest but in preparing the PFD reports.
"They genuinely hope the raising of these ongoing concerns, at the very highest level, will lead to changes within the industry that will hopefully further reduce the serious risk to people in bins."