Family of Portsmouth taxi driver who was electrocuted demand a thorough examination of his death

FAMILY of a taxi driver who was electrocuted on a football pitch have demanded a thorough examination of the tragedy surrounding their loved one’s death.

Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 6:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 6:32 pm
Albert Xhediku who died at Mountbatten Leisure Centre after being electrocuted

Relatives of Albert Xhediku made the appeal to a coroner in Portsmouth during a pre-inquest hearing into the 34-year-old’s death.

The former City Wide Taxi worker died on the artificial football pitch at the Mountbatten Centre in Stamshaw, Portsmouth, at 6.30pm on January 17, 2016.

He had been attempting to retrieve a football which had been kicked over the metal cage surrounding the seven-a-side pitch when he was electrocuted as he touched a sports floodlight.

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The silver taxi at scene this morning at Mountbatten Leisure Centre in Portsmouth which belongs to the victim, Albert Xhediku. Photo: Victoria Jones/Solent News & Photo

As previously reported, paramedics attempted to revive Mr Xhediku, who was taken by ambulance to the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, where he was pronounced dead.

The tragedy sparked a three-year probe by the Health and Safety Executive – which is still investigating the incident, officials said during a hearing at Portsmouth Coroner’s Court today.

Detectives from Hampshire Constabulary had also been involved, investigating whether anyone was criminal liable for Mr Xhediku’s death – which led to the delay in the inquest process.

The Crown Prosecution Service has since dropped its manslaughter investigation, now freeing up coroners to look into the 34-year-old’s death.

Now the barrister representing Mr Xhediku’s family, Kyah Mufti, has urged the court to ensure the inquest delved into as much detail as possible.

The London-based lawyer insisted relatives wanted answers – and were demanding the coroner takes action to protect the public from future similar tragedies.

Ms Mufti said: ‘What we’re dealing with is a sports floodlight, a frequently encountered electrical installation.

‘Indeed many of the individuals and bodies involved are still working in facilities management and electrical installation on these facilities.

‘It’s vital not just for this family but the protection of the public that their actions are properly investigated.

‘There is a desire to discover the facts and learning arising from this tragedy.’

Lawyers from the organisations who will be involved in the eventual inquest later this year were joined by some family members for the hearing.

Some urged assistant coroner Lincoln Brookes to look back at the maintenance records of the floodlights dating back, potentially to 2008.

Coroners do have the power to stage a more detailed hearing – known as a Middleton inquest – when there is a suggestion that a public body may have failed to take steps that could have prevented the death in question from occurring.

However, Mr Brookes felt that Mr Xhediku’s death did not cross this threshold, meaning his hearing would fall into the standard Jamieson inquest – the most commonly used form of inquest – which is more limited in its ‘scope’, Mr Brookes said.

A jury will preside over the inquest, which will begin on Monday, September 23 and conclude on Wednesday, October 2.