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29th Jun, 2022

Wrongly wired lamp killed pensioner

Worcester Editorial 7th Mar, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

A PENSIONER was electrocuted by a faulty lamp when attempting to fix a leak in his friend’s attic, an inquest has heard.

George Goode offered to look at the boiler in Michael Eades home in Swallow Close on December 27, last year, after Mr Eades noticed water was dripping onto the carpet below.

At Mr Goode’s inquest at Worcestershire Coroner’s Court on Thursday (March 6) the court was told the 76-year-old, who lived in Linden Road, asked for a torch as the lighting was not good enough in the attic to see the boiler properly.

Mr Eades then plugged in a caged lamp and handed it up to Mr Goode without any problems at first. But moments later Mr Eades heard his friend shouting “Electric shock, electric shock, turn the power off.”

After switching off the lamp, Mr Eades climbed up into the loft to find Mr Goode collapsed on the floor.

Speaking at the inquest, Mr Eades said he ran to his neighbour’s house as he knew he was a paramedic, and waited downstairs while the emergency services dealt with Mr Goode who had suffered a cardiac arrest.

He was taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital but his condition deteriorated and he died three days later.

After the incident an electrician, Paul McGloin, was called in to look at the property’s electrics and also examine the lamp, and found the plug was wired incorrectly as the earth and live wire were connected and it had a 13 amp fuse instead of three amps.

It meant as soon as it was plugged in, the metal parts of the lamp including the cage covering the bulb and bulldog clip became live.

Mr McGloin said Mr Goode may have then touched a metal pipe or some of the damp loft insulation which would have led to the electrocution.

He also found the fuse box in the house did not have a residual-current device (RCD) which would have sensed the wiring in the plug was wrongly wired and cut the power instantly.

Worcestershire Coroner, Geraint Williams, said: “Mr Eades said he’s had the lamp for some considerable time, he does not know where or when he attained it. He never had a cause as far as he could recall to rewire the plug or to change the fuse contained within it.

“The fuseboard did not contain an RCD. Mr McGloin told me it was a requirement from some 15 years ago, that in a new build or when a house is rewired and new fuseboards are put in a mandatory requirement that RCDs are fitted.

“If an item is plugged in with a fault, the RCD will simply trip through and switch everything off.

“Mr Eades said he’d used the lamp on previous occassions and had no problem with it and Mr McGloin explained that’s because he was properly earthed, he had insulated or was on a carpet and therefore there would be no completed circuit.

“But when the lamp was then handed up to Mr Goode it was clear there was no electric shock immediately, but then some seconds later a shock was administered.

“It’s clear to me that the lack of an RCD in this case caused Mr Goode’s death. The primary cause was because the lamp was wired incorrectly. It’s self evident that if the lamp had been wired correctly there’d have been no issue with it. So those two things acting in concert in my judgement caused Mr Goode’s death.”

Mr Williams recorded a verdict of accidental death.

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