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Callum Osborne, of City Wall, Canterbury, buried alive in trench on building site in Bridgefield Road, Swalecliffe

By KentOnline reporter

A young dad-to-be was buried alive on a building site described as “exceptionally bad” by an inspector just hours before his death.

Callum Osborne, 24, of City Wall, Canterbury, was laying pipes in a trench when the walls collapsed around him, throwing piles of earth on top of the helpless labourer.

Desperate efforts were made to dig him out, but he suffered heart failure and was pronounced dead at the scene in Bridgefield Road, Swalecliffe.

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

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

A new inquest into his death started yesterday, more than three years after the tragedy on April 7, 2011 and following the collapse of a first hearing in December 2012

A jury in Sandwich was told the site was visited by Canterbury City Council building inspector Julie Darbyshire earlier that day – but she failed to report her “dodgy” findings.

The 52-year-old said she could only get onto the site by holding a fence and saw the trench with spoil piled alongside it.

Emergency services at the scene of the collapse in Bridgefield Road

Emergency services at the scene of the collapse in Bridgefield Road

She said: "I saw a young boy digging in the trench close to a small digger.

“It was up to his shoulders. I would say it was up to five feet .I thought to myself that looks dodgy. It was an exceptionally bad site."

Miss Darbyshire said she did not have the power to shut down the site and did not report the operators to the Health and Safety Executive because the work was almost complete.

A policeman guards the scene of the trench collapse

A policeman guards the scene of the trench collapse

Callum’s girlfriend Colette Osborne, formerly Scott, gave birth to the couple’s daughter a month after his death.

The mum-of-three said he had previously been self-employed and had been working for Cooper Services Ltd for just two days.

She told the inquest she had received a text from Callum two hours before he died.

She said: "He said he hadn't had a break yet. He said he was digging a trench and it was very deep.

Flowers left at the scene of the tragedy

Flowers left at the scene of the tragedy

“He'd spoken to me about trench collapses and said he wouldn't work on a site where trenches were unsupported.

"He was desperate for this job and would do anything to get it, including working  in a trench without shoring."

The inquest continues.


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