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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Man hanged himself in Lake District cavern - inquest

A crane operator was found hanged at Honister Slate Mine after he was stopped by police onsuspicion of drink driving earlier in the year.

Phillip Andrew Jenkinson, 34, of Low Park House, who worked for Lawson’s Haulage in Cockermouth, was found in a cavern within the mine, on Honister Pass, on June 22. He had worked there before.

An inquest was told that Mr Jenkinson had twice the permitted driving level of alcohol in his blood and had taken Diazepam.

Mr Jenkinson had a possible drink driving charge looming after he was stopped by police at West Newton “some time” before his death. But the results of a blood sample were negative and no charge would have been brought.

He had been sent home from a job he was doing for Lawsons Haulage at Ambleside after a disagreement with the site’s foreman.

His mother, Janine Teresa Jenkinson, told the inquest: “When Jim Lawson rang me he mentioned the drink driving. When I questioned Phillip he seemed really optimistic that he wouldn’t be prosecuted but there was the possibility and he would have lost his licence for a long time.”

Mrs Jenkinson said her son had a drink problem, consuming a bottle of wine a day. He had also tried valium around six years ago and smoked cannabis but was trying to quit.

Mrs Jenkinson said: “He loved working on the cranes but was worried that if he lost his licence what he would do next.”

Friend Philip James Blair said he had started to feel despair because of what was happening in his life. He said the death of Mark Weir, Honister’s owner, had hit Mr Jenkinson “very hard”.

Coroner David Roberts recorded a suicide verdict.

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