Inquest into Halifax man's death after falling asleep in skip after night out

A father-of-one was crushed to death in a bin lorry after climbing into a skip in Huddersfield to keep warm and sleep after a night of drugs and alcohol, an inquest heard.

Chris Ogden, 23, had smoked cannabis before going out clubbing then seeking shelter, got in a large skip in the early hours of a winter's night last year.

An hour later the bin lorry arrived to collect the skip outside the bus station in Huddersfield and Mr Ogden, who had probably fallen asleep, was crushed to death by the vehicle's mechanical compressor, Bradford Coroner's Court heard.

Coroner Dominic Bell recorded a verdict of accidental death - related to alcohol and drug use.

Christopher Ogden's body was found at a recycling plant in Leeds

But the family of Mr Ogden, who had a son, Alfie, aged two, angrily stormed out of court as the verdict was given.

Outside they said the verdict made Mr Ogden look like a "drug addict" and during the hearing questioned whether the binmen had first checked the skip for rough-sleepers before it was emptied.

Earlier the inquest heard Mr Ogden, from Halifax, had smoked four cannabis reefers with his best friend Dean Biddlecombe before they went out for "Student night" in Huddersfield on January 24 last year.

There they downed Jaeger bombs in a pub and went to a club where Mr Ogden proudly showed people photos on his phone of his young son before he fell asleep, rowed with bouncers and was eventually thrown out.

He hung around the town's bus station for an hour but it was closed and he was captured on CCTV staggering around and falling asleep standing up leaning against doors.

The now disused site where Christopher's body was found Credit: ITV Yorkshire

At 4.47am CCTV captured him climbing on top of the skip, before one hour and one minute later the bin lorry arrived to collect the skip with the contents then compressed by the mechanical crusher on the vehicle.

Later that day the the lorry load was emptied at Leeds Paper Recycling, where the waste was dumped onto a conveyor belt and shocked workers spotted Mr Ogden's body.

Pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd, who carried out the post mortem, said there were extensive signs typical of asphyxia on his face and body.

There were also 29 minor injuries on his upper body, mainly grazes and bruises.

He gave the cause of death as traumatic asphyxia due to the lorry's mechanical waste compression crushing his chest.

Toxicology reports showed both alcohol and cannabis in Mr Ogden's body, which may have had a "detrimental effect on his motor and cognitive function" - but these were also described as "minimal" though it may have delayed his response to what was happening when the skip was collected by the bin lorry, Dr Shepherd said.

Christopher Ogden's climbed into a skip at Huddersfield bus station

Det Con Mark Willetts, from West Yorkshire Police said police had found no evidence of criminal action or neglect by either the bus station, recycling firm or bin lorry drivers.

But Mr Ogden's family questioned whether a visual check of whether anyone was in the skip had taken place.

His older brother, Philip Ogden told the inquest: "I have worked for a bin company, and the rules was if it was a town centre and the early hours in the morning we had to check them because of homeless people. Every time we came to a bin we had to check."

Anthony Flynn, the bin lorry driver, said he did carry out a visual check of the skip before it was emptied - but it was only possible to see what was on top - not what was within the 8ft long, six feet high skip.

Mr Bell, Assistant Coroner for West Yorkshire, gave the inquest verdict as death caused by traumatic asphyxia with alcohol and cannabis intoxication as contributory factors.

"I'm accepting the evidence derived from CCTV that at approximately 4.47am Christopher Ogden entered a skip, seeking shelter and a place to sleep," he said.

"Christopher was, in essence, the architect of his own misfortune on that particular day. The conclusion I will be formally recording will be one of accidental death, alcohol and drug related."

He said he would be writing to the local council to "explore the possibility of remedial measures" for binmen to check skips and bins, especially in winter, for people sleeping inside before they are emptied.

Watch Michael Billington's report below: