A teenager was crushed by a forklift truck while working on a Norfolk farm – less than a month after starting a new job, an inquest heard.

Zach Richardson, 18, was found trapped between a forklift truck and a wall at Elm Farm, near Shipdham, on October 24, 2020, a hearing in Norwich was told.

The cause of death was determined to be “compression asphyxia,” Norfolk senior coroner Jacqueline Lake said.

He said Mr Richardson, who lived in Hubberts Bridge near Boston in Lincoln County, had started working at Lincoln County Firewood as a crew member on October 6, 2020.

He said he had completed two formal forklift training sessions.

“He was with his owner, Mr Jenkins, who left the site to pick up the car,” he said.

“On returning to the site shortly before 1715 hours, Mr Richardson was found trapped between the forklift truck and the wall.”

He was pronounced dead at the scene after emergency services were called, an inquest heard.

Jurors said they would hear evidence about Mr Richardson’s training and “the maintenance of two forklift trucks”.

Scott Ekins, who trained Mr Richardson to use forklifts at his gym, said he had “looked like he’d been on one before”.

He said the 18-year-old was considered “top-notch”, “asked a lot of questions”, “noted” and “was the most eloquent of the three (candidates) of the day”.

Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel KC, acting as legal counsel for Mr Richardson’s family, said the forklift truck was fitted with a seat sensor which should have stopped it from moving when no one was in the driver’s seat.

Mr Ekins said: “The seat sensor didn’t work to move when (Zach) wasn’t in it as you know he was crushed between the wall and the truck.

“It should be noted that the sensor is not working.”

Mr Ekins replied: “Yes, but he might not have known the sensor was there.”

Outside court, Mr Richardson’s father, Kevin Richardson, who was in the audience, said his son had a “heart of gold”.

“I miss you like you’ll never believe.”

The 56-year-old father, who lost his arm in a work accident 19 years ago, said his son “was always there for me”.

Her son, one of 10 siblings, was “just a beautiful boy.”

“I trained all six of my children and Zach was the most talented,” said Mr Richardson Snr.

“The family was everything to him and we feel like they failed us by encouraging him to take the job that killed him.

“He did not even begin to spend his first salary.”

Mr Richardson said his son also remembered being part of a team that reached the top 500 in the global calling game video game.

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