Stuff that matters

A dad fell to his death down the shaft of a broken lift after forcing his way out when it suddenly stopped between two floors.

Mark Faulding started to “panic” when the lift came to a halt and waited to 10 to 15 minutes before leveraging open the inner doors, an inquest heard.

The 49-year-old, who was described as being claustrophobic and prone to “anxiety”, tried to climb down to the level below but fell down three floors at his block of flats in Bradford.

He had been in the lift with a friend, Kevin Hodgson, when it stopped between the third and fourth floor on May 19 last year, reports Yorkshire Live.

Mr Hodgson told the hearing how they began kicking the lift’s walls, shouting for help and pressing the alarm button to try and attract attention.

He said Mr Faulding “started panicking and saying he needed to get out” of the lift – which the inquest heard could fit up to 13 people – but was not aware at the time that his friend had claustrophobia.

The inner doors were then forced open and the outer door to floor three had “opened on its own”, he added.

Mr Faulding then tried to “shimmy out” feet first and held onto the lift’s floor with his hands before falling, the hearing was told.

Mr Hodgson said: “I saw he was not on the third floor. I heard a bump. I just went numb.”

Firefighters later arrived and carried out CPR, but Mr Faulding was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Hodgson added: “I kept shouting ‘Mark, Mark’ – there was no answer.”

Mr Faulding’s daughter, Chelsea, told the inquest how she and her dad had a “great bond” and that his death had “destroyed” the family.

She also described him as a “panicker”, saying: “I knew that if he was stuck in a lift he would be panicking.”

In a statement, she added that her dad had suffered low moods previously and, on the day he died, had been unhappy over his housing provider serving him an eviction notice for breaking tenancy rules by having a dog, Pablo.

Chelsea said: “He refused to get rid of Pablo even though he had been warned several times. On the day he died he had an eviction notice served.”

Mr Faulding had cannabis in his blood when he died but it was not known if this had impaired his brain functions, the inquest heard. There was also evidence of prior cocaine use

An examination of his body found he had grease on his hands which police said was consistent with him touching the lift doors.

The block of flats was being renovated at the time of Mark’s death and the lift had previously stopped between floors, the hearing was told.

After ruling out foul play, detectives passed the investigation to the Health and Safety Executive.

The inquest continues.