Man burns to death in factory furnace

London – A grandfather burned to death inside an industrial oven when it was accidentally turned on by his future son-in-law, a court heard on Thursday.

Alan Catterall, 54, fought desperately with a crowbar to try to free himself from the factory furnace, which is used to heat plastic at temperatures of 280 degrees Celsius.

Liverpool Crown Court was told how operator Mark Francis, 36, who was engaged to Catterall’s eldest daughter, switched on the machine without realising his future father-in-law was inside trying to clean it.

Supervisor Catterall was then trapped inside as the oven door closed automatically and locked itself.

Insulation and the lack of a window by the control panel meant nobody could hear his cries for help, jurors heard.

Colleagues only realised something was wrong when they saw smoke pouring from the machine around 10 minutes later.

Prosecutors say Catterall’s “horrific” death two days before Christmas in 2010 came after several “near misses”.

Pyranha Mouldings Ltd, of Runcorn, Cheshire, denies corporate manslaughter.

Two directors and an engineer deny health and safety offences.

The trial continues.

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