Notts mechanic died after being trapped under van he was repairing

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A coroner has issued a safety alert after a Notts mechanic died when trapped while repairing his own van.

An inquest heard the vehicle was being held up by two axle stands, but began to move as Ernest Fothergill was under it.

And a police expert who investigated the tragedy said there were no wooden blocks behind the wheels to keep it static.

Neighbours rushed to help Mr Fothergill, aged 67, who died from multiple injuries following the incident on Abercarn Close, Bulwell, on February 5.

Mairin Casey, Nottinghamshire coroner, concluded that it was accidental death.

She said: “If there is one message, that should be one of safety, that people working on vehicles at their homes should be vigilant about following safety precautions.

“In an ideal world, not working alone.

The case was investigated by a police team which normally deals with serious road accidents.

Detective Sergeant Adam Cooper said there were no suspicious circumstances and no suggestion anybody had tampered with the handbrake.

Mr Fothergill had two axle stands, available from major retailers, which could hold up two tonnes in weight when used together.

The inquest heard the van was lighter than that and neither stand was overloaded.

Det Sgt Cooper said: “There is no evidence that the rear wheels were chocked to stop it rolling. That shift of weight can create problems.”

Officers found CCTV from a neighbouring house and this recorded “rolling movement which starts in the rear offside corner”.

The coroner asked whether there could have been “technical problems or human error.”

Det Sgt Cooper said: “There is no suggestion the stands themselves have failed. It appears to be user error.”

Miss Casey said there were reports Mr Fothergill had done the same thing previously without a problem.

She praised neighbours who went to help, describing it as “a very distressing experience”.

Miss Casey said: “People immediately go to the aid of someone who is in need. Everything that could be done was.”


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