A lorry driver died after his head became trapped in the tailgate of his vehicle while making a delivery to a shopping centre, an inquest heard.
Gary Leslie Pickering, of Swinton, Manchester, was found by a security guard in the loading bay at Dudley’s Churchill Shopping Centre, at 4.12am last Tuesday.
An inquest was opened and adjourned at Smethwick Coroners Court yesterday.
The hearing was told that the security guard had rushed to the loading bay after an alarm went off at the centre.
The guard saw the delivery vehicle parked up and found Mr Pickering, 34, of Chepstow Road, slumped beside it with his head trapped by the tailgate.
Senior coroner Mr Robin Balmain said: “CCTV images taken at the scene suggest the tailgate had become stuck and Mr Pickering was attempting to free it.”
“At the time he was making a delivery for the company he worked for.”
Mr Balmain said that a post mortem has revealed the medical cause of death to be asphyxia.
But he added more information was still needed and adjourned the inquest until a later date for more inquiries to be made.
A date was not set for when the inquest will resume.
Environmental officers from Dudley Council launched an investigation immediately after Mr Pickering’s death.
The authority has refused to comment further until this has been fully completed.
Officers have been assisted by officials from Home Bargains, which uses the bay off King Street.
It was originally believed that Mr Pickering had been crushed by a metal shutter at the loading bay.
The loading area remained sealed off throughout last Tuesday as the investigation into what happened got under way.
It was reopened again by the following morning.
Police confirmed at the time they were not investigating the matter but said they had been called out to the loading bay where a man had been found with serious injuries.
Both shoppers and business owners at the shopping precinct were left shocked and saddened by what had happened to Mr Pickering.
Following his death, Councillor Tracy Wood, cabinet member for environment and culture, said: “Our thoughts are very much with his family at this time.”