THE family of a scaffolding delivery driver crushed by his own lorry's crane have paid tribute to the 'one of a kind' dad-of-two on the first day of his inquest.

Michael Harrison was unloading pallets of scaffolding at the Victoria Mills demolition site in Holmes Chapel, on February 26, 2021, when the tragic event occurred.

Investigators believe the 42-year-old could have accidentally set the loader crane going with its remote control worn around his neck. 

The tip of its boom pinned him face down to a pallet of scaffolding on the back of the truck and held him there for 10 minutes, killing him. 

Leading the tributes, Michael’s sister, Michelle Jones, described her brother as ‘one of a kind’, adding: “He was a brilliant dad to his two girls, Katie and Abbey. He lived for his family.

“He was so popular, and made friends so easily wherever he went.

“He was a work hard, play hard, kind of a guy, and a bit of a party animal. Most of his wages went on festival tickets.

Michael Harrison (left) moved in with partner, Janine Brown, just two weeks before he lost his life Michael Harrison (left) moved in with partner, Janine Brown, just two weeks before he lost his life (Image: Janine Brown)

"He could be a pain in the backside sometimes, but it's probably the same with all big brothers. 

“We’re hoping to get some closure as it’s been hard moving on with all this hanging over our heads.

“It’s not about finding someone to blame. We just need to know what happened before we can lay him to rest properly."

An inquest into Michael’s death began at Cheshire Coroners’ Court in Warrington on Thursday, June 6, before an jury of 11 members of the public.

Jury inquests are rare, reserved for a handful of cases including when a person dies in police custody, in prison, or if the death raises concerns around public health and safety.

Michael (centre) pictured with daughters Abbie and KatieMichael (centre) pictured with daughters Abbie and Katie (Image: Janine Brown)

Michael was employed as a HGV driver for 3D Scaffolding, based in Irlam, when he died.

The Oldham resident was delivering scaffolding to the former Fads wallpaper factory on Macclesfield Road, which was being demolished to make way for the Anwyl Homes Victoria Mills development, now complete. 

He was standing on the back of his flatbed lorry unloading scaffolding pallets with its integrated crane, assisted by three scaffolders from 3D, when it was accidentally engaged.

Partner Janine said Michael was 'really proud' of his new truckPartner Janine said Michael was 'really proud' of his new truck (Image: Janine Brown)

When colleagues saw what happened, they hit the emergency cut off switch on the crane, but this disabled it completely, leaving him pinned face down.  

After being trapped for around 10 minutes, he was eventually released by a excavator driver who used the grabber attachment on his vehicle to lift the boom of the crane just high enough to pull Michael from under it.

Colleagues then performed CPR until paramedics and the air ambulance arrived, who tried to shock him back to life with a defibrillator.

Sadly, it was too late, and around 50 minutes after medics arrived, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The court heard evidence from GP, Dr A K Atrey, who said Michael had been having dizzy spells in the months running up to his death, and had been provisionally diagnosed with vertigo.

He was given medication for it, and asked to make a follow-up appointment, but didn’t.

The inquest is expected to last four days, when the jury will hear evidence from eye-witness, others present on site, emergency service personnel, plant machinery experts, a toxicologist, a pathologist, health and safety inspectors, and the managing director of 3D Scaffolding.