A ’loving’ Devon farmer died after being trapped beneath a large silage bale.
Richard Paul Fishleigh died on July 26, 2016, at Lower Corscombe Farm in Okehampton while stacking arable silage bales after one large round bale fell from the stack and onto him.
He was 49-years-old.
Home Office pathologist Dr Deborah Cook said: "The internal injuries were devastating. The silage bale fell on him and trapped him between the bale and the ground. This would have been immediately fatal. He suffered several head injuries and multiple fractures. The cause of death is blunt head injury."
Heather Fishleigh, Mr Fishleigh’s wife, told Devon Live: "All through his life he was involved in farming and we were together for 16 years. In 2005 our son was born and farming and family was his whole life.
"Paul worked for Andrea Martin, mainly making silage and baling. On the morning of the 26th he left between 8.30am and 9am and that was the last time I saw him. Robbie took a phone call around lunchtime and he was told there had been an accident at Andrea’s farm and he drove me over.
"I was told by a police officer Paul was dead. He had never been involved in an accident before. You could not find a more loving person, he found it difficult to say no to helping people out. We have found it very difficult to deal with what has happened. It has left a massive hole in all our lives."
HSE inspector Emma O’Hara visited the site and ruled health and safety guidelines appeared to have been followed with no breaches.
Coroner John Tomalin concluded: "A round silage bale fell from a top row of a stack of bales, crushing him below. Any attempt to remove the bale sadly would’ve made no difference to the outcome here. Mr Fishleigh farmed with his wife and also did contract work to bring in extra money.
"He arrived that day with his tractor and trailer to pick up the wrapped bales which he then stacked. It appears to me the stacking had been organised and completed by Paul. When the stack was covered, the bale fell from the top and fatally injured him. Whether the sheeting operation contributed to the fall, I cannot be certain.
"It appeared the same number of bales was on the top level as was on the middle level. The bale that fell did not appear to be fully supported by the bales below it. Being covered in plastic would have made the bale more slippery and underneath the sheeting any movement would have been hard to see. I must conclude Mr Fishleigh died as the result of an accident."