Warehouse worker, 23, crushed to death under running forklift in horror accident

A young dad with a "heart of gold" was crushed to death under a running forklift in an horrific workplace incident.

Aston Villa fan Mitchell Pountney from Stourbridge died at Cutting Edge Skirting in Station Road, Rowley Regis, on September 2 last year.

Devastated relatives paid tributes to the 23-year-old as an inquest into his death began at Black Country Coroner's Court on Tuesday.

Paramedics Simmone Armfield and Michael Hill – along with Critical Care Car driver Dave Williams – were sent to the scene following reports a patient was in cardiac arrest and trapped at 10.58am.

But in a statement, which was read out by area coroner Joanne Lees, crews said they found the dad-of-one with injuries that were not compatible with life and he was pronounced dead at 11.04am.

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A health and safety investigation was launched and the firm went on shutdown for a week, Birmingham Live reports.

The jury was told that Mr Pountney may have been unpacking wood from a shipment that was to go into the warehouse.

The left door within the company's unit was smaller than the right-hand side and needed to be made smaller or would not fit with the side loader, the inquest heard.

Pathologist Dr Swapna Ghosh said Mr Pountney died from severe cranial and upper spinal injuries as a result of an industrial accident.

Paying tribute on the first day of the inquest – which is expected to last three days – his family said: "When Mitchell was a child, he was very content, happy, outgoing and very well behaved.

"Even from a young age, he loved sport. Growing up he had a very big passion for football. He was a big Aston Villa supporter and he enjoyed going to games.

"He loved anything animals, he loved going to the zoo and safari park.

"As he was getting older everything was the same – he started playing football and was very good at it. He also got into boxing and was good at that as well.

"He was very good at school and enjoyed learning and meeting new people. He had a good circle of friends. Everybody enjoyed Mitchell's company – he was very easy to be around.

"He loved making jokes and pranks with his friends. He did extremely well on his exams and got Bs, As and a distinction. He then went to college and then to university – where he enjoyed a short spell – before he wanted to work.

"From starting work, Mitchell was very optimistic and ambitious. He took on a new task with a stride in his step knowing he was going to give 100 per cent.

"Through the years of working, he was hardworking, loyal and gave 100% – like he did with everything.

"While still enjoying work life Mitchell found that there were big changes ahead when he found out his girlfriend was pregnant.

"Instead of worrying and scared it made him more determined to make a success of his life – it didn't stop him doing the things he loved."

The family-signed tribute continued: "When his son came along he started doing the things he wanted to do with him.

"He was a fantastic, loving dad and was absolutely besotted with him. But he also never gave up on his ambitions, keeping up football twice a week and taking his son so he could enjoy teaching him about things he enjoyed.

"Through the years Mitchell was an outstanding person. He loved his mum, dad, his girlfriend Laura, his son, his brothers Jamie and Ryan – just as much as we all loved Mitchell.

"Mitchell had a heart of gold and would do anything for anybody. He would put himself out to help other people.

"We all just miss him so much and was the best son me and his dad could have wished for."

Villa fans held a minute's applause as a tribute in the 23rd minute of a home game against West Ham shortly after his death.

The inquest at the Oldbury-based court continues.

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