Man Crushed To Death By Forklift Driven By His Own Dog

Derek Mead's family has been searching for answers after he mysteriously died while gardening at home. An inquest has found an unlikely culprit in the freak-forklift accident.

Derek Mead, 70, died after his dog climbed into a nearby forklift and pressed a lever causing the vehicle to drive into him, an inquest has found.

The dairy farmer was building a rock garden at his home in Hewish in the west of England, last year when he got out of the forklift to open a gate. He left the vehicle in neutral and didn't put the handbrake on when he exited.

IMAGE: supplied

Mead's Jack Russell stayed inside and is believed to have jumped on the shuttle leaver which sent the truck flying forward into the farmer, killing him at the scene.

Assistant coroner Dr Peter Harrowing said it was a "tragic accident".

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It's believed the dog accidentally moved the shuttle leaver in the forklift. Image: Getty Images.

Results from a post-mortem examination found Mead died from combined traumatic asphyxia and spinal fractures.

Simon Chilcott, the principal investigator for the Health and Safety Executive, said operating the shuttle leaver is as simple as flicking a switch, and so it is plausible the dog could have accidentally moved it.

"It is fairly clear in my mind that the lever must have been in neutral when Derek left the cab, otherwise he would have realised the machine was moving and done something to rectify it,"Chilcott said.

In a statement after his death, Mr Mead's family said: "He was doing what he loved and had been doing since he was a young boy."

Featured Image: Getty Images. 

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au