[UPDATE] Body At Avonmouth Waste Plant: Cause Of Death “Unknown”

Man found deadThe identity of a man found dead at a Biffa waste plant in Avonmouth has been released by police, who believe he may have been transported 45 miles to the Bristol plant. Thirty-four-year-old Matthew Symonds’ remains were found by workers on Friday (1 August) morning. It is believed his body was transported to Avonmouth with commercial recycling waste collected in Swindon 45 miles away. Detectives are treating his death as unexplained and await the results of post-mortem examinations.

Senior investigating officer, DCI Gareth Bevan – “Police enquiries so far suggest the body was transported with commercial recycling waste collected in Swindon and therefore the focus of the investigation will be in that area going forward”

Senior investigating officer, DCI Gareth Bevan, said: “Police enquiries so far suggest the body was transported with commercial recycling waste collected in Swindon and therefore the focus of the investigation will be in that area going forward.

“The investigation is at an early stage and we are keeping an open mind about the circumstances leading to Mr Symonds’ death. “Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time.”

In 2012, Canadian student Garrett Elsey was found at the New Earth Solutions Site, also in Bristol. After falling asleep in a wheeled bin the container was collected with him inside. An inquest heard Elsey was crushed to death.

UPDATE [21 November]

An inquest heard that the cause of death of 34-year-old Matthew Symonds’, whose remains were found at a Bristol recycling, plant is unknown. Symonds’ body was found on August 1 at a waste centre in Avonmouth, after being transported from a recycling facility in Swindon.

Wiltshire’s coroner opened an inquest into Symonds’ death and confirmed the cause was “unascertained”.

The inquest has been adjourned until a case management review on 15 December.

UPDATE [13 August]

A Major Crime Investigation team, including specialist investigative staff is examining the death of Matthew Symond’s.

The police are not treating the death as suspicious. Further tests are being carried out after a preliminary post mortem.

The case has been referred to the Health and Safety Executive and an inquest is set to be held at a later date.

Mr Symonds’ grandmother Susan Symonds and his aunt Rachel Symonds said: “The whole family are shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Matthew in such circumstances.

“We remain distressed about the way it happened, it is a tragedy and appears to have been a terrible accident. He will never be forgotten.

“Despite his hard life and upbringing he was a good lad who was kind and polite. He loved to talk and would continue until in the end you had to tell him to be quiet.

“The loss of his mum had a massive impact on him. As an only child he was devoted to his mum Madeline who sadly died in September last year.”

UPDATE [8 August]

Police say that after enquiries there is no indication that Mr Symonds was attacked prior to his body being found.

The cause of death has not yet been revealed, despite the postmortem having taken place. Police say more tests are being carried out.

Senior investigating officer, DCI Gareth Bevan, said: “The team have carried out a large amount of enquiries and so far there is no indication that Mr Symonds was assaulted. The investigation is ongoing and we continue to keep an open mind about the circumstances of his death.”

Sleeping In Bins

CIWM last year partnered with Biffa and StreetLink, a telephone line and website which enables the public to help connect rough sleepers to local services, to raise awareness of the issue of homeless people sleeping in bins. Many people don’t know where to turn if they find themselves sleeping rough.

In an attempt to find shelter and warmth there is some evidence that suggests it is not uncommon for people to sleep in refuse wheelie bins. “The aim of the joint communications campaign with StreetLink is three-fold,” explains Tim Standring, Biffa’s Divisional Safety, Health, Environment and Quality Coach.

“We are seeking to raise awareness of the issue; highlight the dangers amongst rough sleepers of seeking shelter in bins; and to encourage waste management workers and their customers to contact StreetLink if they are concerned about someone sleeping rough.”

Sleeping in refuse containers puts themselves at risk of injury and death, with a worrying 16 percent of people found sleeping in bins only discovered after they were tipped out

Biffa research found that that people sleeping rough do seek shelter in waste and recycling bins, particularly in cold or wet weather, which is putting their lives at risk and has resulted in a number of fatalities.

Sleeping in refuse containers puts themselves at risk of injury and death, with a worrying 16 percent of people found sleeping in bins only discovered after they were tipped out.

The study has shown that people are most likely, though not exclusively, to be found sleeping in unlocked bins stored at the rear or side of buildings and largely in urban areas. People sleeping rough seek shelter in bins through the night and in particular in cold or wet weather.

Over the last 12 months, nearly a fifth of waste industry professionals who responded to the questionnaire reported finding people sheltering in bins.

The most typical scenario for a recorded incident of finding someone sheltering in a bin was found to be:

  • A homeless person (58%)
  • In an urban area (88%)
  • At dawn, dusk or night (90%)
  • In wet or cold weather conditions (73%)
  • In a 1100 litre bin (65%) with no lock (50%)
  • At the rear or side of the premises (73%)

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