After being turned away by a homeless shelter because he arrived too late, 34-year-old Matthew Symonds was left with no other choice but to sleep in a recycling bin; however, he failed to wake up on time when workers emptied the bin as he was crushed to death three hours later, reported the Western Daily Press.
Wheelie bin death: Man crushed at recycling plant after sleeping in container http://t.co/oPYc0MJZdL
— eastcoastskywatcher (@weederfish) July 30, 2015
As workman Shayne Pipe was emptying the bins at the recycling company in Avonmouth, Bristol, on August 1, 2014, he shockingly discovered what appeared to be body parts. “I knew it was a part of a body as it was big, but I thought at first it could have been a cat,” Pipe said.
“I had not seen anything like it before. I could see a lot of blood and guts coming through the waste and thought something was seriously wrong.”
Bristol police were later called to the scene where they used fingerprints to determine that the remains found in the recycling bin belonged to Matthew Symonds.
Symonds was a homeless man and a father of one who had been released from jail on July 30 of last year. With nowhere to live, he turned to a shelter; however, the following month he was turned away from the shelter because he arrived at 3:54 a.m., which was too late, according to the Mirror.
The homeless man discovered a recycling bin and decided to sleep in it, but tragedy struck at 5:47 a.m. when a HGV driver, Ian Coward, arrived to empty the bins. He stated that he tapped on the side of the bin to ensure no one was inside, and when he didn’t “hear anything to suggest someone was inside,” he carried on with his duties.
Coward dropped the content in the recycling bin into the lorry, which is a 20-foot drop, and used a hydraulic compressor – which has a pneumatic blade – to crush the contents before transporting it to the recycling company.
It was later discovered that Symonds was dropped into the lorry along with the other contents and was crushed to death.
“There isn’t usually a risk when collecting dry-mix recycling, which would have been cardboard, paper and plastic cups,” said HGV driver Ian Coward.
“You have to look out for items on the floor near the bin, people in the bin and stuff to the side and inside the bin. I’ve never known someone to be inside one of the bins before.”
When Symond’s grandmother, Susan Symonds, heard about his tragic death, she stated: “It was a terrible shock when we heard about Matthew’s death. He was a nice lad but sadly he mixed with the wrong people.”
An investigation immediately took place after Symonds’ remains were found in a recycling bin, and a year later, nine members of the Swindon Coroner’s Service in Salisbury are still unable to determine how, when, and why Symonds died as there were a lack of evidence.
According to Swindon Advertiser, a jury concluded that the tragic accident was caused by an “unnatural death.”
“The whole family remains shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Matthew in the terrible circumstances that occurred almost a year ago to the day,” Symonds family said in a statement.
“We continue to be distressed about the way it happened, but the conclusion of today’s inquest has given us an understanding of the sequence of events leading to his final hours.”
“It is unfortunate however, we will never know with any certainty exactly how Matthew died.”
“This has been a long, difficult year waiting for these proceedings, which have sadly not given us complete closure,” the statement continued. “We will never forget about you Matthew. You are truly missed, but we know you are at peace up there with your mum.”
His family hopes that after the recycling bin death, “more will be done” to prevent another tragedy.
[Image courtesy of Peter Macdiamond / Getty Images]