A FARMER was killed when his head became trapped in an electronic trailer gate crushing his skull, an inquest has been told.

Christopher Barry Parker, 55, of Skewsby, died on Tuesday, January 7 on Foulrice Farm, near Brandsby, where he had worked for the past eight years.

The jury at the inquest into his death yesterday, at County Hall, Northallerton, heard that Mr Parker had been working with Stuart Beaumont, whose father, Peter, owns the farm, bagging up eight tonnes of sheep nuts when the accident happened.

Giving evidence at the inquest, Mr Beaumont said that he had borrowed a 12 tonne green trailer with a hydraulic tailgate from a friend to transport the sheep nuts from York back to the farm a few days prior to the incident.

The pair had been working together using the trailer, which was tilted to its maximum height, and a Manitou tractor holding the bags open to tip the nuts inside.

Mr Beaumont said that he had a clear vision of Mr Parker, who had previously climbed into the tilted trailer to sweep out the remainder of the nuts, when he got into the tractor to close the trailer doors and bring it back down to its normal level.

He said: "I had a clear vision of him and shouted okay and he said yes, so I shut the door.

"When I turned around again Barry wasn't where he was supposed to be. He was trapped by his head which was caught between the lip of the bottom of the trailer and the door. His arms were hanging by his sides lifeless."

A post mortem examination showed that he had died from a head injury and a fractured skull.

Traffic Constable Dave Foster, of North Yorkshire Police, said that when he arrived at the scene Mr Parker was bleeding from his nose and mouth.

He believed that Mr Parker had bent down to pick up a shovel he had been using while the gates were closing before when his head became trapped.

He said: "It is likely that he bent down to reach the shovel after giving the okay and was trapped by the closing tailgate."

The jury heard that the gate would have closed in about four seconds, killing Mr Parker on impact.

After a short deliberation, 13 members of the jury concluded that it had been an accidental death.

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Parker’s wife, Janette, said: "It was an accident. It's really hard, but you have to carry on. He and Stuart were good friends and everyone knew each other. I am glad it was quick."