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Accident claims life of Cathedral craftsman.

A LEADING craftsman died after he accidentally fell while installing a new stained glass window at Durham Cathedral.

Michael Gerald Lassen, one of the country's most experienced stained glass artists, plunged 20ft from the top of a ladder on to stone slabs, in September 2010, fracturing his skull and breaking ribs, an inquest heard yesterday.

The 61-year-old was originally taken to the University Hospital of North Durham but was quickly transferred to the neurological unit at Newcastle's General Hospital. Medics worked to save Mr Lassen, from Bristol, but he died five days later from bronchial pneumonia, caused by the injuries he sustained to his head and ribs.

The inquest at Newcastle's Civic Centre heard health and safety experts were drafted in to investigate but found neither the scaffolding or ladders he'd been using were in breach of legislation.

Mr Lassen had been working for two weeks on the Transfiguration of Christ window, made by artist Thomas Denny, and one of the largest to be installed in Durham in modern times.

He had replaced the original man working on the project after he became ill a few weeks earlier.

Neuropathologist Dr Tuomo Polvikoski concluded that Mr Lassen had become susceptible to bronchial pneumonia because of bleeding on the brain, a fractured skull broken ribs and subsequent immobility. A jury returned a verdict of accidental death.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 19, 2011
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