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Canterbury family's anger as 'disgusting' error means inquest into trench collapse death of Callum Osborne in Swalecliffe will have to be reheard

By Gerry Warren

An inquest into the death of a man killed when a trench collapsed on him at a building site three years ago will have to be reheard following an administrative blunder.

Callum Osborne, 24, died while working on a new house in Swalecliffe and the hearing was expected to be resumed and a verdict reached this week.

But instead north Kent coroner Rebecca Cobb was forced to apologise to his family and legal representatives because an error meant there were not enough jurors.

Callum Osborne died when a trench he was working in collapsed on him

Although there were seven, which is the legal minimum, one of them had not heard any of the previous hearing's evidence.

An eighth juror, who is now living in Birmingham, had not been required to attend and unavailable at short notice for the hearing.

Angry family members branded the error "disgusting" and said another delay would be "totally out of order". Legal representatives also said it was "extremely disappointing".

Callum's mother Karen Hodgson told Miss Cobb she was also concerned a further delay would mean witnesses would be unable to accurately recall what happened on the day.

North East Kent coroner Rebecca Cobb

They had already waited 18 months for the resumption of the hearing, which was adjourned for what was expected to be a short period for the coroner to prepare her summing up of the evidence to the jury.

Now a new inquest with a new jury on a future date will have to be organised and all the witnesses re-called and their evidence heard again.

Mr Osborne, of City Wall Avenue, Canterbury, had been working for Cooper Services Ltd on groundworks for new bungalows in Bridgefield Road, Swalecliffe, in April 2011 when the tragedy happened.

A policeman guards the scene of the trench collapse

He was standing in a deep trench in which utility pipes were being laid when a section collapsed on him.

Rescuers fought with their bare hands to try and dig him out. But by the time he was freed he could not be revived by paramedics.

Emergency services at the scene of the collapse in Bridgefield Road

At the time of his death, he was living with his partner, Colette Scott - now Osborne - who gave birth to their baby daughter just a month later.

Afterwards, she said: "I'm really upset. Three years after Callum's death and we still do not have the answers and now we have to start the whole process all over again.

"I am now worried that not all the evidence will come out."

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