Killer tractor investigation

August 1, 2023 7:42 am in by

A farming tragedy at Chudleigh is prompting the coroner to recommend the banning of old tractors from commercial farming operations, after a 50-year-old vehicle killed a father and a son.

Ian John Barwick’s father died when a David Brown 780 rolled on him in 1977; the same vehicle fatally crushed Mr Barwick in mid 2020.

Coroner Olivia McTaggart has found the tractor’s handbrake didn’t work after examining an incident report from Constable Nigel Housego.

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“It appeared to Constable Housego that Mr Barwick had tripped or fallen into the path of the moving tractor. The fact that Mr Barwick was found with his hands up covering his chest and head reinforced his view,” said the Coroner.

“There were no witnesses to the incident and no evidence to suggest other persons were involved in the incident.”

She also recommended the government legislate that old vehicles be retrofitted with safe tractor access platforms, if they’re not banned altogether.

“Mr Barwick’s death highlights that the practice of operators mounting and dismounting tractors which are in motion, or are likely to move, places their life at risk. Operators should not engage in this practice,” said Coroner McTaggart.


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