Homeless man sleeping in bin died after being crushed by rubbish lorry


TRAGEDY: A homeless man died after a bin he was sleeping in was tipped into a rubbish truck

Russell Lane died from infection after the rubbish container he was taking shelter in was tipped into a bin lorry.

Mr Lane’s legs were severely crushed but the 47-year-old refused to have them amputated and wanted a second opinion despite warnings from doctors.

Just over a month later Mr Lane, from Rochester, Kent, died as an artery in his leg became infected.

An inquest earlier this week at Archbishop’s Palace, Maidstone, heard evidence from three bin men, from waste company Veolia, involved in the accident in January last year.

TRAGEDY: Russell Lane died in Rochester

TRAGEDY: Russell Lane died in Rochester (Pic: NC)

Graham Bailey, who tipped the bin into the truck, told the court that he and his co-workers had been trained in checking there was no one sleeping in the bins.

He said: “I hit the sides about three or four times; there were no signs of movement.

“I took the bin over the cobbles, lifted it an inch or so off of the ground, lifted the lid and looked inside, all I could see was carpets and cardboard.”

Mr Bailey pressed the emergency stop button and the lorry’s driver, Paul Link, shut off the operations as soon as they realised what had happened.

Mr Lane underwent surgery to save the arteries in his left leg which had been damaged during the crush.

Southampton General Hospital Loop via Getty Images

SECOND OPINION: Mr Lane wanted a second opinion from Southampton Hospital (Pic: Getty )

Giving evidence, Mr Mohamed Mohamed, a consultant vascular surgeon at Medway Maritime, said became concerned when circulation in Mr Lane’s left leg was not functioning as it should have been post-surgery.

After going in for another operation, it was found that Mr Lane had been tampering with his bandages and clips that had been holding his wounds together.

Five days later, Mr Mohamed concluded that Mr Lane’s wound had become infected with pus, and he underwent another surgery.

Mr Lane was told there was a risk that he would have to have his left leg amputated above the knee as the artery that had been operated on could rupture but Mr Lane was adamant he wanted to be sent to University Hospital Southampton to have a second opinion, The Independent reported.

The inquest heard that before Christmas 2017, Mr Lane was making progress to stop his addiction to class A drugs and he had found solace in his Christian faith.

“He was accidentally tipped from the bin into the lorry, but I don’t find that he accidentally went into the bin”

Coroner Katrina Hepburn

Mr Mohamed said that it was clear to him that Mr Lane had the mental capacity to understand the decision he was taking.

He said: “He said that God said to him he would not lose his leg – he was adamant that he would not let us take his leg.

Mr Mohamed said Mr Lane was unsuitable for transfer due to his condition and at the time the NHS was in “meltdown”.

Mr Lane told doctors that should his artery rupture, he wanted it tied off, which would ultimately cause his leg to go gangrenous.

On February 17 Mr Lane suffered a haemorrhage and was sent for emergency surgery but he went into cardiac arrest and sadly passed away.

The cause of his death was given as hypovolemic shock which was caused by an infected, ruptured artery.

Mr Lane had no links to Rochester but had told his brother he was visiting the Kent town to research their family history.

A year after the tragic accident, Mr Lane’s former partner and mother to his daughter Nicola Gerrard paid tribute to him.

She revealed that just a few months before his death he had graduated from college with a health and social care qualification.

The 45-year-old said: “Russell did not have a bad bone in his body – he was a beautiful soul.

INQUEST: The case was heard at Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone (Pic: Google Streetview )

“He was turning his life around, starting afresh and just wanted to help others.”

She said he was a loving dad to his 26-year-old daughter Kellyanne and had sent gifts to both her and his grandson Louie ahead of his planned visit to Liverpool in December.

Concluding, coroner Katrina Hepburn said that she could not determine the death to be accidental.

She said: “He was accidentally tipped from the bin into the lorry, but I don’t find that he accidentally went into the bin.

“I find that misadventure is more suitable to this case. He wanted to spend the night in the bin. He had nowhere to sleep. I find that he voluntarily went into the bin to sleep.

“Death was an unintended consequence.”


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