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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
Window cleaner drowned in bucket
A window cleaner drowned in his bucket of water after suddenly collapsing while he worked, an inquest heard.

Mark Fairhurst, 35, of Wigan, Greater Manchester, was found by customer Elizabeth Bebe in June 2006 with his head submerged in water.

Bolton Coroner's Court heard that a heart condition caused the collapse but the cause of death was drowning because he had been unable to save himself.

The jury returned a unanimous verdict of accidental death.

It looked like he had been in that position for some time
Elizabeth Bebe

The father-of-one, of Fowler Close, Scholes, was working at the home of Miss Bebe in Whelley, near Wigan.

She told the inquest: "I went outside to hang some washing at the back when I saw a ladder propped up against the wall.

"I then saw Mark lying on the ground motionless, with his arms tucked in and his head tilted to the right inside the bucket.

"It looked like he had been in that position for some time. I went to call a neighbour who then called the ambulance and the police."

No foul play

Miss Bebe told the jury she thought Mr Fairhurst may have fallen while on the ground, rather than from his ladder.

The hearing also heard that the window cleaner had complained about heart palpitations earlier in the year but had not told his doctor.

Pathologist Dr Charles Wilson told the jury he had been informed that Mr Fairhurst had been assaulted in August 2005 which had led to memory problems.

He said he could not rule out the incident being linked to his blackout - but was satisfied there was no foul play.

Coroner Jennifer Leeming expressed her condolences to the family of Mr Fairhurst at the hearing on Thursday.

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