Inquest into death of grandad in Port of Sunderland 'explosion' to last 'a full week'

Provisional dates have been set for an inquest into the death of a Billingham man at the Port of Sunderland.

Monday, 20th January 2020, 10:04 am
Police were called to reports of an ‘explosion’ at the Port of Sunderland.
Police were called to reports of an ‘explosion’ at the Port of Sunderland.

A hearing at Sunderland Coroner’s Court on Friday, January 17, senior coroner Derek Winter confirmed that an inquest into the circumstances of Brendan Eccles’ death is set to be one week long.

After being adjourned on numerous occasions since August 6, 2018, the inquest is hoped to be concluded this summer.

Police were called to reports of an ‘explosion’ at the Port of Sunderland on Prospect Row on Friday, July 27, 2018 and, sadly, later confirmed that the 61-year-old grandfather of Low Grange, Billingham had died.

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The inquest is planned to be one week long.

In the hearing, Derek Winter explained that evidence will be given from different parties including officers and members of the Health and Safety Executive.

Mr Winter also outlined how the pontoon involved was manufactured in Poland and that they are awaiting evidence from that.

He added that, in the final inquest, Brendan’s family and others concerned will be able “to understand the events and to put questions to the witnesses.”

Not all of those witnesses will be present.

Mr Winter also told those present that he has “provisionally identified” dates for the inquest into Brendan’s death and that it will take place in “a slot of a week.”

Those provisional dates are in July or September 2020.

Mr Winter explained to the hearing that it will be “required by law to sit with a jury” in order to “decide the facts” and that the jury will consist of 7 to 11 people from “all walks of life.”

Mr Winter said: “If we put aside a full week, that should be a sufficient amount of time.”

Following Mr Eccles’ death, his family paid tribute to him.

A statement from them read: “Brendan was a loving husband, father and grandfather and we are still coming to terms with this tragic loss.

“Brendan was kind, thoughtful and well-liked by everyone who knew him and words cannot describe what has happened.