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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Pirelli death: Police fear factory workers too scared to talk

Detectives today urged workers not to be scared to come forward over the death of a man at Carlisle’s Pirelli factory.

George Falder photo
George Falder

Related: Police probe 'suspicious' death at Carlisle's Pirelli factory

Police have appealed for colleagues and friends of George Falder to speak to them and tell them what actually happens on the shop floor at the tyre plant – not rules and regulations.

The call from senior officers comes after a post mortem by a Home Office pathologist showed Mr Falder, 48, did not receive any injuries before being in the machine, pointing to there being no assault or altercation.

Officers also said that the married father-of-two would have been “dead within seconds” due to the extreme temperatures in the steam autoclave equipment.

The machine involved has been tested and was shown to have been “fit for purpose”.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Forrester, the man leading the investigation, has appealed for colleagues and friends to come forward to help police solve the case by telling them what happens on the shop floor at Pirelli.

Detectives are worried people might be scared to tell the truth in case they place their jobs at risk and have sought assurances from Pirelli that those who do come forward can do so without fearing for their jobs.

“What I need to find out is what he was doing in there and how he got in there,” said DCI Forrester.

“We’re looking at all options.”

The body of Mr Falder, of Linden Terrace in Harraby, Carlisle, was discovered by a colleague just after 6pm on Sunday.

Police are treating the death as “suspicious and unexplained”.

His family, who are said to be “devastated”, have paid tribute to man with a “heart of gold”. A statement issued through police said: “George was the kindest man you would ever know.

“He would do anything for anyone.

“He had a heart of gold and he will be missed so much by all of his family.”

Mr Falder had worked at Pirelli for almost eight years. He was part of a small team that worked on the autoclave, an industrial steamer about 20ft long and with a diameter of between 4ft and 5ft.

It is used as part of the tyre-making process and temperatures inside reach up to 150C and should always be above 100C. It runs for a cycle of about 16 minutes.

“There is no reason for Mr Falder to be in that machine,” added DCI Forrester.

“This is an extremely unusual set of events. That is why it is proving difficult to piece together what has happened.”

Employees have been interviewed, from senior managers to those working on the shop floor. Police stressed all information was important.

DCI Forrester added: “People can come forward and speak to us in confidence.

“I’m really keen to speak to people who work at Pirelli who can give me some inside information on the day to day practices that occur on the shop floor.

“I’m not particularly interested in the policy and procedure and what should have happened. I want to know what in reality does happen.

“The difficulties that people might be faced with is that they don’t want to tell us what happened in reality for fear of management taking disciplinary action.

“They don’t want to put their jobs at risk.”

Police say the investigation has examined a string of possible theories as to how Mr Falder came to be in the machine.

Mr Falder had been due to finish work at 5.30pm and was found by a colleague on the next shift.

Police are trying to create a timeline of Mr Falder’s movements as they happened on the day.

The tyre factory, which employs 850 people, was closed until 10am yesterday.

At the gates as it reopened, the mood among people arriving for work was sombre.

One man who had known Mr Falder commented: "Everybody is still very shocked. It's terrible."

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