A FARM worker died after suffering a fractured skull when his head was crushed between the edge of a trailer and its tailgate, an inquest heard.

Christopher Barry Parker's death at Foulrice Rarm in Brandsby, near Easingwold, North Yorkshire, was an accident, the inquest ruled today (Tuesday, April 22).

The jury inquest at Northallerton’s County Hall heard that Mr Parker, known as Barry, who worked as a farm labourer for Stuart Beaumont, had been unfamiliar with the hydraulic trailer and was likely to have been hit by the falling tailgate when he reached to pick up a shovel.

Mr Beaumont told the jury Mr Parker, 55, had worked with him for about eight years when he accompanied him to collect eight tons of sheep nuts on January 3.

He said: “We left the pellets over the weekend and on Tuesday, January 7, we planned to put it into half-ton bags.

“I was using a borrowed trailer because mine was damaged but I had been shown how to work the hydraulic system – I always have a run though with machinery I am not familiar with.”

Mr Beaumont told the inquest he and Mr Parker positioned the tractor and trailer so they could tip up the trailer and allow sheep nuts to fall down a shoot into bags, controlled by a lever.

Mr Parker, from Dalby Terrace, Skewsby, had been using a brush and shovel to get remaining pellets out of the trailer, and slid out of the tailgate after asking Mr Beaumont to open it for him.

Mr Beaumont remained in the tractor but said he could see Mr Parker close to the trailer, who shouted at him to close the tailgate again.

But when the tailgate shut Mr Beaumont saw that he was underneath the back of the trailer and trapped in the door.

Traffic Constable David Foster of North Yorkshire Police said a reconstruction of the incident suggested that Mr Parker had bent down quickly to pick up a shovel that was on the ground next to him but misjudged the speed at which the trailer door would fall.

He said: “The hydraulic door was very quiet and closed in four seconds.

“It’s very likely he bent down to get the shovel and when raising his head became trapped in the rapidly closing tailgate.”

The jury concluded Mr Parker died as a result of an accident.