Questions over lorry’s handbrake after binman crushed

An inquest into the death of a ‘hero’ refuse worker crushed by his bin lorry is set to look at the vehicle’s handbrake and whether it was properly secured just before the tragedy.

Andrew Betts died at Benenden School near Cranbrook[1] on November 25, just four days before his 62nd birthday.

Andy Betts was a popular character on the Kent darts scene

Andy Betts was a popular character on the Kent darts scene

The collection supervisor was trying to stop his lorry from rolling away when he was crushed between the door of the vehicle and a hedge.[2]

A pre-inquest review held at County Hall, in Maidstone, with assistant coroner Alan Blunsdon heard police carried out a thorough investigation of the lorry after the tragedy and no defects were identified.

And a discussion followed over whether a light should be on or off when when the handbrake is engaged.

Before the inquest can take place further documents detailing the risk assessments carried out by Urbaser on the day are also needed.

The representative for the company, Christopher Newton, has three weeks to provide them alongside maintenance reports showing the vehicle’s history up to three months before the accident.

Andy Betts with wife Lesley and daughter Laura

Andy Betts with wife Lesley and daughter Laura

The full inquest will also examine the risk associated with the vehicle being operated by a single driver.

Mr Betts’ daughter Laura described his actions a as ‘ nothing short of heroic’ as he had been trying to prevent an even more dangerous incident from happening.

She added: “His actions were nothing short of heroic and a reflection of the type of person he was, he will be so painfully missed.

“My dad was simply the best father and husband you could wish for and loved by so many friends.

“He loved life and was so much fun and would do anything to help anyone.

Benenden School where the tragedy happened. Stock image

Benenden School where the tragedy happened. Stock image

School staff and emergency services tried to save his life following the accident, but he died at the scene.

At an inquest opening Mr Blunsdon said his cause of death was a massive chest trauma.

Mr Betts, who lived in Waterloo Road, Tonbridge, was a popular figure on the local darts scene – known affectionately as ‘Bettsy’ – and had previously played for the Kent county team.

A former contestant on cult TV darts show Bullseye, Mr Betts was once part of a team of four players who set a world record for the number of bullseyes and 25s scored in 24-hours, hitting 445,850 shots and raising money for good causes in the process.

His wife Lesley and daughter Laura described the 61-year-old as “a devoted father and husband”.

An online fundraiser was set up by his family to help pay for a memorial event once Covid-19 restrictions are eased sufficiently to allow friends and family to gather and celebrate his life.

So far more than £6,300 has been donated by well-wishers.

A four day inquest will be held in front of a jury later this year.

To donate to the fundraiser, click here.[3]

For more information on how we can report on inquests, click here.[4]

Read more: All the latest news from Weald[5]

References

  1. ^ Cranbrook (www.kentonline.co.uk)
  2. ^ crushed between the door of the vehicle and a hedge. (www.kentonline.co.uk)
  3. ^ click here. (www.gofundme.com)
  4. ^ For more information on how we can report on inquests, click here. (www.ipso.co.uk)
  5. ^ Read more: All the latest news from Weald (www.kentonline.co.uk)