Much-loved man died af­ter fall­ing from un­der lorry

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - By CONOR GOGARTY

AHUGELY pop­u­lar and much loved Chel­tenham man died af­ter climb­ing un­der a lorry and later be­ing run over by it, an in­quest has found.

Si­mon Mcdon­nell, of­ten called “Big Si”, died aged 27 at around 2am on Au­gust 16, in a col­li­sion with a de­liv­ery lorry on the A40 Glouces­ter Road.

Hun­dreds of mourn­ers at­tended the car­pet fit­ter’s fu­neral on Septem­ber 14, as fam­ily mem­bers paid trib­ute to the “true leg­end” of Chel­tenham and “once in a life­time char­ac­ter”.

An in­quest into the death of Mr Mcdon­nell was held at Glouces­ter Coro­ners Court.

Se­nior coro­ner for Glouces­ter­shire, Katy Sk­er­rett, recorded a death by mis­ad­ven­ture.

The court heard Mr Mcdon­nell climbed un­der a HGV and hung onto the fuel tank for more than two miles as it was driven through Chel­tenham, be­fore los­ing his grip and be­ing run over.

He had been drink­ing in the town cen­tre that night.

Mrs Sk­er­rett said there was a “sig­nif­i­cant” level of al­co­hol in his body, 283mg per 100ml of blood. The le­gal limit for driv­ing is 80mg.

She added the al­co­hol was not a fa­tal amount but was “very high”, while there was also a “sig­nif­i­cant amount” of co­caine in his sys­tem.

“This per­haps pro­vides a pos­si­ble ex­pla­na­tion for risk-tak­ing be­hav­iour,” Mrs Sk­er­rett said.

CCTV showed Mr Mcdon­nell talk­ing to To­masz Kal­muk, the driver of a white Mercedes An­tos lorry, at around 1.46am in Cam­bray Place.

Col­li­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tor PC Phil Reese told the court: “There ap­pears to be some form of very short con­ver­sa­tion. Mr Kal­muk does not re­call this.

“Mr Kal­muk is at the rear of the ve­hi­cle load­ing and un­load­ing. Mr Mcdon­nell walks to the side of the Mercedes.”

He said Mr Mcdon­nell climbed un­der the lorry with­out be­ing seen by Mr Kal­muk, who then drove it away.

PC Reese added that Mr Mcdon­nell held on for more than two miles, as the Mercedes trav­elled onto the A40.

He fell from the un­der­side as the ve­hi­cle ap­proached the A40’s junc­tion with Ben­hall Av­enue.

Mr Mcdon­nell sus­tained fa­tal in­juries. Two passers-by alerted emer­gency ser­vices to the col­li­sion.

Record­ing her ver­dict, Mrs Sk­er­rett said: “What is clear is he has sus­tained over­whelm­ing, un­sus­tain­able-with-life in­juries.

“It is clear the driver of the ve­hi­cle had no idea the tragic in­ci­dent un­folded. What is rel­e­vant is the high lev­els of al­co­hol and drugs in Mr Mcdon­nell’s sys­tem.

“It is likely this would have af­fected his sense of risk and the ten­dency to put him­self at risk by tak­ing the ac­tions he did.”

Mrs Sk­er­rett ex­pressed her sym­pa­thies to Mr Mcdon­nell’s fam­ily.

At Si­mon’s fu­neral in Septem­ber, hun­dreds of mourn­ers heard mov­ing trib­utes paid to him.

His older sis­ter Caro­line said he was ‘Peter Pan’ in her mov­ing eul­ogy.

“He never wanted to grow up,” she said. “If I only had one word to sum Si­mon up it would be ‘fun.’

“He was also in­fec­tious, charm­ing, kind, unique, a real cheeky chappy, one of a kind and, as he would say, the most hand­some chap in Chel­tenham.”

Si­mon Mcdon­nell, cen­tre, with sis­ters Chris­tine Mcdon­nell, left, and Caro­line Cole

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