Inquest rules accidental death at Cardington Studios

RAF Cardington
Image: Iiboharz - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

An experienced rigger who plunged nine and a half metres to his death from the roof of a temporary stage in a film studio in Bedfordshire died as a result on an accident, an inquest found.

But a jury in Ampthill found contributory factors to the death of 52-year-old Russell Bowry.

They said there was no written safe system of work at Cardington Studios and Mr Bowrey had not clipped his lanyard to a safe structure.

The father-of-two suffered an irreversible brain injury when he fell at the former airship sheds in Cardington near Bedford on 13 March last year.

In a statement read to the jury of six women and four men at the coroner’s court, Jamie Lee Dawson, who was working in the sheds, said: “I heard a shout and then a bang. I thought it was something someone had dropped.”

He said he saw a hole in the roof and Russ lying on the floor. “Russ was on his back motionless and looking very grey. I thought he was dead.”

Mr Dawson said he went to the office to call for an ambulance but they were already calling. He said he directed two ambulances to the scene before the air ambulance arrived.

Bedfordshire Senior Coroner Emma Whitting told the jury Mr Bowry from Lower Stondon, Beds., was working for Elstree Light and Power Broadcast and Events Limited in Shed 2 at Cardington.

She said Mr Bowrey’s wife Jackie said he had been a rigger for over 15 years and was a roofer before that. He had first worked at Cardington in 2007, 11 years previously.

The work had largely been for ELP, a company that supplies lighting and rigging to the entertainment industry.

After the fall, he was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where it was found he had suffered an irreversible brain injury.

His death was confirmed on 16 March and his kidney, liver and heart were donated. There were no traces of alcohol or drugs in his system at the time of the fall.