AN INQUEST has heard how a 34-year-old father of three was crushed to death by the excavator arm of a JCB backhoe while performing maintenance work on the stolen digger.
Stuart Collinson, of Lingdale, East Cleveland, was working on the vehicle at a derelict farm when the accident happened last September.
His body was found trapped underneath the 2-tonne arm after his family became concerned when they had not seen him for 24 hours.
A police investigation into his death found the JCB Mr Collinson had been working on had been stolen the year before.
At the time of the incident the rear arm of the digger was balanced on a crate. It toppled over when Mr Collinson tried to remove a hydraulic pipe.
Death would have been instant, according to pathologist Nigel Cooper.
Teeside coroner Michael Sheffield said: 'He was attempting to take off the rear arm and he was not following the laid-down procedure.
When he had disconnected the hydraulic hose, the arm moved from its temporary support position, causing fatal injuries.' He recorded a verdict of accidental death.