THE body of a homeless man thought to have been crushed to death in a tragic accident was mistaken as being that of a cat or rat, an inquest has revealed.
John Paul Bassett, 50, of no fixed abode, was found by staff at B&M Waste Services in Bromborough last Wednesday (Sept 5).
Coroner’s officer Arthur Flower told Wirral Coroner’s Court that the driver of a refuse vehicle had seen “something moving” in a rubbish skip being loaded on to his vehicle but had disregarded it.
He told deputy coroner Alan Pickell who opened the hearing: “It is reported that the driver of the vehicle subsequently remembered having seen something moving as the skip was lifted over his vehicle. However, given that rats and cats are regularly found within the skips, he had apparently been not unduly concerned at that time.”
The court heard that staff from B&M based on Dock Road South in Bromborough had contacted emergency services at 11.40am on Wednesday (Sept 5).
They reported that they had discovered the body of a man which had apparently “tipped out of one of their refuse vehicles”, the inquest was told.
Mr Flower went on to tell the hearing that the vehicle concerned had collected refuse from 12 different locations that morning.
Police inquiries discovered that at approximately 7am after leaving the depot the vehicle initially picked up refuse from two locations in Wirral, the second being Cherry Tree shopping centre in Liscard, before calling at a further 10 locations in the Liverpool area.
Mr Flower said that rubbish skips are loaded on to a hydraulic platform at the front of the vehicle which then pass over the top, depositing rubbish from the skip into the holding area at the rear. The rubbish is then “compressed” by a hydraulic ramp.
A post mortem examination conducted by pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd at Royal Liverpool Hospital concluded that Mr Bassett had died as a result of a “severe blunt head injury”.
Mr Flower added: “John Paul Bassett was 50 at the time of his demise, having been born on November 3, 1961, in Liverpool. He was a single man, unemployed, of no fixed abode.”
He said police inquiries are continuing into Mr Bassett’s death.
Earlier police had said that the homeless man had died of “trauma to his head consistent with crush injuries”.