IMAGE ID HRGKKC Corrie McKeague CREDIT GEOFFREY ROBINSON, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
Corrie McKeague went missing in September 2016 (Picture: Geoffrey Robinson/Alamy Stock Photo).
UK

Corrie McKeague was in bin that was tipped into waste lorry, inquest concludes

The RAF gunner was 23 when he disappeared in the early hours of 24 September 2016 in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

IMAGE ID HRGKKC Corrie McKeague CREDIT GEOFFREY ROBINSON, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
Corrie McKeague went missing in September 2016 (Picture: Geoffrey Robinson/Alamy Stock Photo).

Royal Air Force gunner Corrie McKeague, who vanished on a night out in 2016, died after getting into a bin which was then tipped into a waste lorry, an inquest has concluded.

Mr McKeague, of Dunfermline, Fife, was 23 when he disappeared in the early hours of 24 September in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

He was last seen on CCTV at 03:25 entering a service area behind a shop.

His body has never been found, despite extensive searches.

On Tuesday, an inquest jury recorded in a narrative conclusion that Mr McKeague died at approximately 04:20 in Bury St Edmunds as a result of "compression asphyxia in association with multiple injuries", jurors recorded.

In their conclusion, they said Mr McKeague's "death was contributed to by impaired judgment due to alcohol consumption".

They said there were "ineffective bin locks", an "ineffective search of the bin" before it was tipped, and "poor visibility through a Perspex viewing window on the lorry".

Members of Mr McKeague’s family, including his mother, father, two brothers and his daughter’s mother, were in court as the jury returned its findings.

His mother, Nicola Urquhart, wiped tears from her eyes as she left the room at the end of the hearing, and his father, Martin McKeague, was tearful as he spoke to press outside the court alongside his partner Trisha.

Suffolk's senior coroner, Nigel Parsley, praised the family's "quiet dignity" through the inquest.

He told them: "I cannot imagine the distress and anguish you've felt from the moment Corrie disappeared and the terrible burden that placed on you from that day.

He described Corrie as a "charming, compassionate" young man "living life to the full".

IMAGE ID HRGKKF Corrie McKeague CREDIT GEOFFREY ROBINSON, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
(Picture: Geoffrey Robinson/Alamy Stock Photo).

Mr Parsley expressed concerns about viewing panels, used to see inside the back of bin lorries, and said he would write to the British Standards Institute, bin lorry manufacturer Dennis Eagle and waste firm Biffa about these concerns.

He said he would also order a prevention of future deaths report in respect of "ineffective locks on bins", writing to the Container Handling Equipment Manufacturers Association and Biffa.

Mr Parsley said that he would also write to Biffa about its current behaviour observation form and the risk of people in bins.

The inquest, in Ipswich, was earlier told that Mr McKeague, who was stationed at RAF Honington, had slept in a bin before.

He had also slept under bin bags on a previous night out, using them "like a blanket", and was a heavy sleeper when drunk, the hearing was told.

He once downed a bottle of wine in 17 seconds, according to a friend, and was described by his former RAF line manager as a "nightmare on the drink".

Mr McKeague was seen asleep in a shop doorway earlier on 24 September 2016 before he awoke and walked to the service area where he was last seen.

Waste firm Biffa initially told police the weight of the bin was 11kg (1st 10lbs) but it was later recorded as 116kg (18st 3lbs).

The force said the movement of Mr McKeague's mobile phone mirrored the movement of the waste lorry that collected the bin from the service area where he was last seen.

Mr McKeague was not seen on CCTV leaving the area on foot.

His father, Martin McKeague, said after the ruling that he hopes his son can "finally be left to rest in peace".