Father, 62, bled to death in front of partner and teenage daughter after chainsaw 'jumped' and hit his neck
20:16 GMT, 23 December 2012
A 62-year-old father died in an horrific accident when a chainsaw 'jumped up' as he was testing it and slashed his neck, an inquest heard.
Peter Conway died in front of his long-term partner just two days before Christmas last year after the incident outside their bungalow.
He had told his partner Joanne Eland, 53, he was just going to test the tool to see if it was working before lending it to a friend, the inquest was told.
Tragedy: Peter Conway died in front of his daughter Trudy (left) and partner Joanne Eland (front) after a chainsaw 'jumped up' and slashed his neck as he was testing it
She was in the living room of the couple's home in Brierley, Barnsley, when she heard the motor on the chainsaw start.
Miss Eland said she could hear her partner, who had worked for a haulage firm, moving to the rear of the garden.
Although nobody saw the fatal accident occur, Ms Eland said she had rushed out to help him. The couple's daughter Trudy, 14, also arrived on the scene just after the accident.
A coroner ruled the most likely explanation was that one of the blades on the chainsaw, which was resting on top of an oil drum while it was running, had caught on the metal and jumped up and caught him in the neck.
Ms Eland told the court in a written statement that she looked out of the window and saw Mr Conway 'fall back'.When she went over she saw blood around his neck and said it 'looked like the front of his neck was gone'.
Mr Conway had been testing the machinery to see if it was working before lending it to a friend (file picture)
Attempts to revive Mr Conway made by his partner, a neighbour and later paramedics could not save him and he was pronounced dead in his garden shortly after the incident, which happened on December 23 last year.
The inquest heard that the cause of death was shock which occurs when severe blood and fluid loss mean the heart is unable to pump enough blood to the body.
Ms Eland described her partner of 14 years as a good-natured man who 'tended to worry more about others than himself'
She told the inquest that Mr Conway had the chainsaw for about 18 months and would use it for cutting wood but hadn't
used it for about three weeks.
When Ms Eland came out find Mr Conway on the grass, the chainsaw, which was described as 'a fairly cheap buy' costing around 49.95, was sitting on top of the upturned oil drum, still running.
Assistant deputy coroner Julian Fox, recording a verdict of accidental death, said: 'The most likely explanation is that when holding the chainsaw he inadvertently touched the rim of the oil drum causing the chainsaw to jump up.'
He added: 'What it clear is that dangerous tools need to be handled with care and that dangerous tools that are relatively cheap probably need more maintenance.'