Trapped local farmer died from hypothermia

A STONEYFORD farmer who ‘lived life to the full’ suffered from hypothermia and lay undiscovered for some days before he was found trapped under his tractor during the summer, an inquest heard.

Thomas Scott (82) was found on July 15 with his right leg trapped underneath the rear wheel of a tractor and died from hypothermia caused by cool weather at the time. It is unknown how long he had been trapped but his nephew, Mervyn Scott, had not seen him for six days, since July 9.

The deceased was found with a mobile phone with him but there was no evidence that he attempted to ring anyone.

He lived on the Rock Road in Stoneyford all his life working on a farm, while he also had another job as a quarry driver.

The inquest heard that Mr Scott, who was unmarried and had no children retired from farming in 2003 but continued to use the tractor to cut grass around the house.

Mervyn said that his uncle was a ‘simple and honest man.’

He told the inquest he had not seen his uncle since July 9 when he ‘seemed to be in good form.’

He discovered Mr Scott’s body when he brought some dinner up to his home six days later. He said that he saw his uncle at the corner of his eye and ran out of the house and over to the tractor.

Mr Scott was lying on his front beneath the tractor which was on a grass bank.

“I can’t understand what he was actually doing to this day,” his nephew said.

The court heard Mr Scott had owned the tractor since the 1970s but that it did not comply with modern safety standards meaning it could have been started from a standing position.

Nancy Henry from the Health and Safety Executive said that hand brake of the vehicle was defective and had been for some time ‘through wear and tear.”

She said given the fact Mr Scott’s body was under a wheel “it is obvious the tractor moved from a started position” but could not explain the circumstances.

She said the incident could not be considered a work accident because Mr Scott was not working at the time.

It was the third tragedy for the Scott family following the death of a brother of Mr Scott who was knocked down on the Rock Road in 1981 while another brother was accidentally shot and killed aged just five.

Coroner John Leckey said Mr Scott had died in ‘tragic circumstances.’

He said that it was ‘really sad that he died in the manner that he did’ adding that how he came to be trapped ‘could not be ascertained’.

The Coroner said the fact Mr Scott did not appear to have used his mobile phone suggested ‘he may have been unconscious’.