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Electrician killed while fixing faulty lights in Wearside

An inquest has heard how an electrician was killed while working on a set of faulty lights at a residential property in Wearside.

Self-employed electrician, Robert Mackenzie, 33, was called to a house in Thorneyburn Close, in Houghton, in July last year as the bathroom lights would not turn off.

Mr Mackenzie began work in the loft of the house, but, shortly after he arrived, he was found slumped on the floor. The homeowner called an ambulance but he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Following Mr Mackenzie’s death, an investigation was carried out at the property which found that there were two major faults in the wiring of the lights. The Sunderland Echo reported electrical specialist, Andrew Seager, as telling Sunderland Coroner’s Court: “The person that had done the installation had twisted the two wires together.

“When the circuit was energised, you got quite a current running through the wire”, he added.

Mr Seager confirmed that it was likely over 240 volts of electricity had gone through Mr Mackenzie’s body, leading to his tragic death. He added that Mr Mackenzie should have isolated the electrical circuit running through the wire in order to investigate the fault, which could have avoided the shock.

Sunderland Coroner Derek Winter asked the jury to record a verdict of accidental death.

“The essential issues relate to the bathroom lighting. Two faults were identified and Rob went to try to remedy these lights”, he said.

“If a person came in to continue working with these exposed metal parts, there was potential for an electric shock. I am going to direct you that the only conclusion that you can record in these very tragic circumstances is one of an accident”, added Mr Winter.