Tragic death of factory worker

Tributes have been paid to a Wigan glass factory worker who was found dead in his flat four weeks after failing to turn up for work.

Friday, 1st December 2017, 9:34 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 8:56 am
Coroner Timothy Brennand

Romanian-born Gheorghe Damian was described as a model employee by his bosses at Global Glass in Challenge Way and he was popular among his workmates.

An inquest at Bolton Coroner’s Court heard that shift manager Christopher Garvey was therefore surprised when Gheorghe didn’t arrive for work promptly on August 2.

He told the court that he had rung the 29-year-old’s mobile repeatedly, without success, and colleagues had been around to his flat at Coops Building, on Dorning Street in Wigan town centre, again without reply.

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Neighbours became concerned for his welfare by the end of August and police forced an entry into his flat, the inquest heard.

He was found naked, in a foetal position, in a badly decomposed state. His identity was later established via dental records.

Mr Garvey said: “He was popular at work with his shift workers and would go out for drinks after work with some of the guys and made friends with them.”

He was “extremely punctual” and this only raised concerns when he did not show up for work after the bank holiday, the court heard.

The deceased’s elder brother Mihi said in a statement that Gheorghe, born in Constanta, was a trained carpenter who had lost both of his parents at an early age.

Once he finished his studies there were concerns over his “dissolute lifestyle”, before he emigrated to the UK in 2010.

The inquest heard the older brother, who came over for a visit later, was worried as Gheorghe appeared to have problems with drugs, and there were references in his medical records to difficulties with heroin and crack cocaine.

He also informed his brother that, after experiencing depression and anxiety issues, he had made a suicide attempt by drinking anti-freeze, which had led to him being hospitalised for a period.

But the court was told that by the time he had moved to Wigan and secured employment with Global Glass he no longer drank or smoked and was in good health.

The older brother, who could not afford to travel from Romania for the hearing, said: “His death has come as quite a shock for the family and we would like to know the outcome of the inquest.”

An investigation was carried out by Det Sgt Phil Houseley, of Wigan CID, who found no signs of any forced entry at the flat or any other suggestions of third party involvement in Gheorghe’s death. The deceased’s key fob, used to gain entry to the Manor Street flats, had not been used since July 31.

Dr Naveen Sharma, a consultant pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination, said the cause of Gheorghe’s death could not be ascertained due to the state of the body and inability to secure samples for analysis.

An open conclusion was recorded by Bolton assistant coroner Timothy Brennand, who said it was clear from the evidence that “people felt very strongly about his worth and his abilities”, which had been demonstrated by Mr Garvey’s attendance at the inquest. “That only serves to emphasis the sense of tragedy, given his early death at the age of 29.” he added.