'Screams' as taxi driver electrocuted fetching football at Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth
A RELATIVE told an inquest he heard harrowing ‘screams’ after his taxi driver cousin was electrocuted when going to fetch a football.
Albert Xhediku never regained consciousness after suffering a fatal shock on the artificial 3G football pitch at the Mountbatten Centre in Stamshaw, Portsmouth, at 6.30pm on January 17, 2016.
The 34-year-old had gone to retrieve a football which had been kicked over the metal cage surrounding the pitch at the Portsmouth City Council-owned centre when he was electrocuted as he touched a pilon of a sports floodlight.
Mr Xhediku‘s cousin Fitim Noka, giving evidence at Portsmouth Coroner’s Court, said: ‘Albert went to get the ball and then all I could hear was a scream from behind my back.
‘At first we thought he was playing a joke but then realised it was a very bad situation. We all ran over to him.’
The inquest jury heard how the surge of power had left Mr Xhediku holding the tower at the top of the 12ft fence.
‘We ran over and got on the fence before trying to get him down. It took four of us to pull down because his hand was holding the bar. I remember saying “let it go Albert”.’
Friend Dritan Pervataj said: ‘(The scream) was the worst noise I ever heard. I hope I never hear it again.’
After climbing the fence Mr Pervataj also received a minor electric shock before trying to help Mr Xhediku. ‘He was in a very bad state with his eyes open. He was gasping for help,’ he said.
Mr Pervataj then looked for help before finding police nearby and waiting for paramedics. ‘They seemed to take absolutely ages,’ he said.
Ervin Balliu, who had played football with Mr Xhediku since 2003, told the hearing he suffered an electric shock a month before the tragedy when climbing the same fence.
He said: ‘I was coming back (over the fence when holding the mast) when I felt an electric shock, so I let go. I told friends I was mildly electrocuted.
‘I didn’t report it because I thought it was normal.’
The jury heard a conduit box and switches at the base of the floodlights were in a ‘very poor state’ with it having to be taped up prior to Mr Xhediku’s death, assistant deputy coroner Lincoln Brookes said.
The centre was managed by Parkwood Community Leisure at the time.
Mr Brookes said there were ‘potential faults’ with the floodlight mast - with two other members of the public also receiving ‘nasty shocks’.
The court was told how Hampshire Constabulary also carried out an investigation before passing it over to the Health and Safety Executive, which is still looking into the incident.