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Inquest opens into death of Dixon’s chimney tragedy granddad

Phil Longcake

AN inquest has been opened into the death of a grandfather who died after becoming trapped at the top of Dixon’s chimney in Carlisle.

Phil Longcake, aged 53, became suspended upside down on the 290ft city structure on the morning of October 28.

Police responded initially just after 2-20am amid reports Mr Longcake was trapped in sub-zero temperatures. There followed a 14-hour rescue operation described by the emergency services as “very complex and precarious”, as shocked members of the public watched the incident unfold from the ground. A 90-metre cherry picker transported from Glasgow allowed rope rescue specialists to reach Mr Longcake, who was brought to the ground at around 4-30pm but pronounced dead at the scene.

An inquest into his death was opened and adjourned this morning (WED) in Cockermouth by Cumbria area coroner Kirsty Gomersal.

During a short hearing, it emerged Mr Longcake was born in Silloth, had lived latterly at Dalston, near Carlisle, and worked as a crematorium technician.

“The details of Mr Longcake’s death are that he was found suspended by his ankle on Dixon’s chimney, Shaddongate, Carlisle,” the coroner stated. “After a lengthy recovery operation, Mr Longcake was sadly declared deceased at the scene.”

A post mortem examination had concluded the cause of his death to be “hypothermia and cerebral swelling”, and “inverted suspension”.

The hearing was adjourned by the coroner. A provisional date for the inquest resumption was set for March 23, 2020.

In a tribute released after Mr Longcake’s death, his family described him as a “fantastic granddad” who would be “very much missed” by all who knew him.

“Phil had many wonderful and happy times with his family, and these memories will be treasured by his loved ones,” they stated.

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