Preston builder’s family vow to fight for answers after inquest verdict

HAPPY TOGETHER: Builder Phil Worden with wife Jayne
HAPPY TOGETHER: Builder Phil Worden with wife Jayne
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A tragic case of double jeopardy killed builder Phil Worden as he tried to fit an outside tap, an inquest heard.

First the 49-year-old unwittingly drilled through an electricity cable he had no way of knowing was in his way.

The Evening Post from May last year

The Evening Post from May last year

And then the safety system which should have saved him from electrocution failed to work because of a thin film of dust.

Wife’s tribute to electrocuted Preston builder - read full story

Both hidden dangers meant Mr Worden, of Ashton, Preston, died in the arms of his wife despite frantic efforts by neighbours and paramedics to revive him.

His family, who admit they still have unanswered questions about his death, say they will continue to fight for a full explanation.

Phil had undertaken a significant number of projects on this scale before without incident and the family therefore search for answers.

A jury in Preston heard the tradesman, who lived in Howarth Road, Ashton, was working on a house in Grange Road when he suffered two electric shocks while fitting the brass tap. His wife Jayne, who was helping him clean up, said that after the first one he told her he had just had a jolt. “I asked him if he was alright and he said ‘no, not really.’ He walked back out and then moments later he screamed and shouted ‘Jayne, Jayne.’ When I got outside he was on the floor still holding on to the tap with his left hand.”

Frantic efforts to revive him at the scene including two shocks from a defibrillator by paramedics, failed to restart his heart. A further eight more in hospital also proved futile.

Consultant pathologist Dr Mark Pitt said death had been due to electrocution. He also said Mr Worden had an enlarged part of his heart due to a long period of blood pressure and this would have made resuscitation more difficult.

The inquest heard an electrician had fitted wiring in the kitchen and had left one cable coiled in the spot behind the sink where a socket was due to be placed. But after the wall was plastered the socket had moved, meaning there was no indication exactly where the cables ran.

A health and safety expert also revealed a new electrical consumer unit had been fitted in the house, but two highly sensitive residual current devices (RCD) had been contaminated by building dust during the renovation, meaning they did not trip when Mr Worden touched a damaged live wire with the tap.

After the hearing Mrs Worden said she would continue to battle for answers. The 47-year-old revealed she has instructed expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the circumstances around the death.

Emma Jones, an expert serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Jayne, said: “The family are still struggling to come to terms with the tragic loss of Phil. They would like to thank the Coroner for investigating his death and although it has been extremely difficult they feel some of their questions have been answered.

“However, there is still a lot they don’t know. Phil had undertaken a significant number of projects on this scale before without incident and the family therefore search for answers.

“There were a number of people working on the refurbishment of the building and we are now investigating the circumstances of Phil’s untimely and tragic death in the hope of providing Jayne and the rest of the family with answers as to what happened.”