A student was tragically crushed to death after bin collection men picked up a wheelie bin where the student had fallen asleep inside after a night out ended in disaster.
Student Garrett Elsey, 22, had been out on a night out with friends, drank an estimated 12 drinks just hours after he had enrolled to study medicine at the University of Bristol.
Bin men discovered the body of Garrett only when they emptied their lorry at a plant in the outskirts of the city. The Bin men contracted by Bristol City Council, said they did not notice anything unusual when they collected the bins at around 7.15am.
It is thought the student – who was only wearing shorts and a jumper – had climbed into the large 1100 ltr wheelie bin outside a housing development in Clifton to escape the cold night.
A post-mortem investigation found he may have been suffering hypothermia – made worse by the alcohol he consumed that night.
Forensic pathologist Dr Amanda Jeffery told the inquest at Flax Bourton that Garrett was most likely alive when he was loaded into the back of the bin lorry.
Pathologist Dr Amanda Jeffrey said a post-mortem examination found high levels of alcohol in the deceased’s bloodstream and that he also showed early signs of hypothermia.
‘The levels were 144 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of blood,’ she said.
‘As a reference point, the legal driving limit is 80.
‘A person who had drunk this amount of alcohol would be showing obvious signs of drunkenness – staggering and some slurring of their words.
‘It’s possible that the combination of alcohol and his body warmth led to an increased risk of hypothermia.
‘People suffering with hypothermia can often become very confused and make strange decisions… they may seek refuge in confined spaces.’
She said she thought the cause of death was traumatic asphyxia, caused by being crushed in the lorry. He was alomost certainly alive when the bin was picked up and emptied into the the refuse truck.
Garrett’s shoes were found near the bin which he climbed into, and Dr Jeffery said it was common for people suffering from hypothermia to paradoxically remove items of clothing.
Mark Hall Manager at BusinessWaste.co.uk added ” We do not recommend anyone to ever climb inside of a bin as there could be all sorts of material in the bin which could be hazardous to your health inside, let alone sleep inside a bin. Our thoughts go out to the family of Garrett and their tragic loss”
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