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Woman crushed to death by defective garage door: Inquest

A MUM was killed after being crushed in an automatic garage door, an inquest in the UK has heard.

Social worker Heidi Chalkley, 40, was pulled into the metal rollers just moments after asking a friend if she had ever held onto the doors, The Sun reports.

Her friend Susan Gilmore watched in horror as Ms Chalkley became trapped and rose a metre from the floor before being crushed to death.

An inquest in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, 120km north of London, heard witnesses desperately tried to save the mother but nothing could be done.

The hearing was told the friends had dropped Ms Gilmore’s car off at her home in Cambridge on August 14, 2016, when Ms Chalkley ran up to the garage door, pressing the button.

Ms Gilmore told police: “As it went up, Heidi said to me, ‘Have you ever held on to it as it goes up?’

“Heidi grabbed hold of the shutters. I thought she was going to let go. She started to panic as her hands got caught on the barrier.

“Everything happened so quickly, in a matter of seconds.”

media_cameraThe road leading to the garage where Ms Chalkley died. Picture: GoogleMaps

The jury heard that a male witness named James Spitale rushed to help, trying to pull the woman’s head from the shutting mechanism at the top of the garage door.

“She was not moving at all. I stood behind her and took hold of her legs.

“I tried my best to do anything I could,” Mr Spitale said.

Jurors heard that Mr Spitale was later told by paramedics that it was “too late”.

A post-mortem examination showed that Ms Chalkley had suffered fractures to her mandible, ribs, spine and arms.

The cause of death was confirmed as being multiple injuries.

Ruth Bagnall Court was built in 2004 as part of a housing scheme for workers such as teachers and firefighters.

Graeme Warden, a health and safety inspector at the Health and Safety Executive, told jurors the gate to the underground car park had been “subject to multiple repairs” since its installation.

He added that there had been numerous reports of breakdowns and vandalism of the door.

The inquest, led by assistant coroner Sean Horstead is expected to last two days.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished here with permission.

Originally published as Mum ‘dragged to death’ into garage door

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