Sleeping driver died in lorry
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
• At an inquest at Brentwood. the coroner, Dr Charles Clark, recorded a verdict of accidental death on 30-year-old Preston lorry driver Louis William Woodhead. after hearing that although he was given lodging allowance decided to sleep in the back of his lorry, and died in a fire which wrecked his lorry.
The court heard that Mr Woodhead, arriving at Brentwood, parked his lorry at Hart Street public car park in the early hours of August 6. He was delivering cards and calendars for a Preston haulage firm, and most Of the load had been delivered except one batch, as it was early closing.
His widow, Mrs Pauline Woodhead, said the lorry would be completely closed because her husband always feared that something might be stolen.
Dr Wilfred Bennison, consultant pathologist, said death was caused by carbon monoxide poisoning and burning to almost the whole body. The fumes would have rendered the driver unconscious.
It was revealed that Mr Woodhead had been drinking and had twice the legal driving limit of alcohol in his blood.
He had been given £4.50 for lodgings but police were satisfied he had not attempted to find any accommodation.
The coroner's officer, PC Walter Watkins, said he found the ignition keys, some coins and a petrol cigarette lighter near the body, but could find nothing to indicate what had caused the fire. "The lighter was the only cumbustible thing we found," he added.
Dr Clark said: "It seems Mr Woodhead was a smoker, and he had been drinking the previous evening. He decided to sleep in his van and accidentally set light to the load."