A schoolboy who died after suffering a broken neck and torn spinal cord may have been injured after “tumbling” inside a machine the last day of his summer job, a jury has heard.
Dean Reynolds is standing trial accused of the culpable homicide of 17-year-old Michael McLean, who died on August 14 2015 at industrial cleaning firm Denholm MacNamee’s premises in Inverurie.
The trial earlier heard how Michael was found unconscious and bleeding from the ears on the floor of a paint shed in which sat an industrial spooling machine.
Reynolds’ trial was told today that a post mortem found Michael suffered a broken vertebrae in his neck, which caused a tear in his spinal cord.
Forensic pathologist Dr Matthew Lyall told the sixth day of the trial at the High Court in Aberdeen that a single blow to the head caused during a tumble in the machine could have caused the broken neck – as well as the other injuries.
He said: “He had a severe injury that could have produced immediate cardiac arrest, and even if it didn’t I would expect it to produce immediate paralysis of all four limbs.”
Advocate depute Richard Goddard asked Dr Lyall: “I put this scenario to you – this machine was being operated by another person while Michael McLean was inside it, causing the drum to revolve, perhaps only for a few seconds and then being switched off because he is not fit to do it by then.
“That’s because he had either become entrapped or had tumbled in that drum, could that account for his broken neck in conjunction with the injury to both sides of his body, his broken jaw and the injuries to his chest?”
Dr Lyall replied: “I think that sequence of events sounds plausible.”
Defence QC Iain Duguid asked: “Are you not amazed that if he has been tumbling in a drum that he doesn’t have more trauamatic head injuries?”
Dr Lyall said: “It just depends how he may have fallen. I probably would most of the time expect to have more impacts to the head.”
Reynolds, 23, of Regent Street, Keith, denies a charge of culpable homicide and an alternative charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He further denies a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice by discarding two pairs of work boots.
The trial continues.