Man crushed to death after sleeping in a rubbish bin

Father was crushed to death when the bin he was sleeping in was tipped into a rubbish truck outside Manchester Apollo

  • David Warrington, 43, was living homeless in Manchester City Centre in 2014
  • The father-of-one was sleeping in a bin outside the Manchester Apollo arena  
  • Driver Wayne Fitton scooped up the bin and emptied it into the back of his truck
  • Mr Warrington’s body was found by firemen after the bin burst into flames  

A father-of-one was crushed to death when the bin he had been sleeping rough in was tipped into a waste collection lorry outside Manchester Apollo, an inquest heard.

David Warrington, 43, had climbed into a waste container in the theatre’s car park via an open side panel, following a music concert in 2014.

His body was later found by fire crews after the bin burst into flames while being collected.

David Warrington, 43, climbed into a waste container outside the Manchester Apollo in September 2014

Mr Warrington was crushed to death when the bin lorry collected the container 

The driver only noticed there was a problem after the rubbish caught fire 

At the time, Mr Warrington had been living in hostels and the streets of Manchester city centre, during a brief period of homelessness.

In the early hours of September 15, waste collection driver Wayne Fitton arrived at the Apollo following a gig by The Saturdays the night before.


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Mr Fitton had been working as a collection driver for European waste company, Veolia and had made a number of collections across Manchester before arriving at the Apollo.

An inquest into Mr Warrington’s death heard that Mr Fitton was unable to inspect the container due to a defect with one of the side panels.

He told the court the bin had been heavier than usual, weighing around 600kg in contrast to a normal weight of 250kg.

Mr Fitton said it had crossed his mind a person could have been inside, but believed the concert the night before could have accounted for the additional weight.

When fire engines doused the flames they discovered Mr Warrington’s body amid the rubbish

Mr Warrington’s inquest heard that he died as a result of ‘crush asphyxia’ 

As he began to empty the waste from the container into his wagon, Mr Fitton reported seeing flames in his vehicle’s camera.

It was only when fire crews attended and emptied the waste container that Mr Warrington’s body was tragically found.

A postmortem concluded that Mr Warrington had died as a result of ‘crush asphyxia’ after being crushed by the weight of the waste.

Pathologist, Dr Charles Wilson told the inquest that Mr Warrington would have already been dead when the fire broke out.

Following a week-long hearing at Manchester Coroner’s Court, on Friday, a jury unanimously concluded that Mr Warrington’s death was an accident.

Helen Warrington told the inquest her son had been a huge Manchester City fan and adored his young daughter and siblings.

She said: ‘David was extremely clever but started using drugs when he was about 20 years old.’

The court heard that Mr Warrington had spent a brief stint in prison where he suffered a serious head injury.

It is unclear how the injury was sustained.

‘He suffered that brain injury and nothing was ever the same again,’ Ms Warrington said.

‘David became aggressive and didn’t know where he was half of the time. It was nothing to do with the drugs, he was just a completely different man.

‘His conversations and outlook on life were very different – I didn’t recognise him.’

Following his release from prison, Mr Warrington spent a period living with his mother, but his mental health continued to deteriorate and she struggled to cope.

Mr Warrington went to live on the streets but would keep in regular touch with his mother, the court heard.

‘The way David was just broke my heart and I couldn’t bear it,’ she said. 

‘I was doing everything I could for him but I just couldn’t help him in the way he needed.’

‘I would still see him every other day and the day before he died he turned up with a friend and had something to eat.

‘David seemed fine but didn’t mention what his plans were. I think he was moving around and occasionally staying in hostels.’

Mr Warrington’s death was initially treated by Greater Manchester Police as a murder investigation, but detectives later ruled out any suspicious circumstances or third party involvement.

Risk Management Director at Live Nation, Terrance Cairns said the Apollo had experienced long-documented issues with fly-tipping but had never experienced people trying to enter waste containers.

‘There was a system in place where members of Veolia staff were asked to lock the bins to prevent fly-tipping, but this fell out of place,’ he said.

The court heard that the ten yard bin that Mr Warrington had been found in was not able to be locked due to a defect with one of the panels.

Mr Cairns said that homelessness had never formed part of the venue’s risk assessment but that the company had made changes in light of Mr Warrington’s death including visual checks from staff and wider CCTV.

Environmental officer for Manchester City Council, Susan Brown, told the court it was not a legal requirement to lock waste containers and was down to individual risk assessments.

‘I was content with the risk assessment in place and feel that Veolia and Live Nation were compliant with health and safety law,’ she said.

After two-and-a-half hours of deliberation, a jury returned a conclusion of accidental death.

The foreman told the court: ‘We conclude an accidental cause of death. 

‘Mr Warrington entered a ten-yard bin through a side panel and the cause of death was crush asphyxia.

‘He was crushed by the weight of the waste.’ 

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