DIRECTOR CRUSHED UNDER PRIZED CAR.
A BIRMINGHAM company director and motor-racing enthusiast was crushed to death when his prized Austin Healey fell on him as he worked on it, an inquest heard.
Doting uncle Stuart James Bullas, 57, of Hagley Road, Edgbaston, had broken several records in amateur hill climb and sprint races with his beloved yellow Mark 1 Sprite, which weighed more than half a tonne.
Mr Bullas, who was divorced and had no children, was found dead on the shop floor of family plastics firm BG Bullas Ltd, of which he was managing director, in Fletcher Street, Lye, near Stourbridge, on April 10.
He had been doing some lastminute repairs to the car, which had appeared on Top Gear, before a race near Shrewsbury when his body was found by friends.
Black Country coroner Robin Balmain heard Mr Bullas had apparently used a crane to lift the vehicle but had not secured it properly using A-frames and it fell out of a cradle, crushing him as he lay on the floor beneath it, while clutching a ratchet drive.
The former Moseley Grammar School pupil was declared dead at the scene by paramedics after his driving partner Robin Johnson and other friends found him.
Mr Johnson, of Kings Norton, said he had known Mr Bullas since he was 15.
They had co-owned the car and the pair had arranged to meet at the factory on the day Mr Bullas's body was found, so they could go to Loton Park, near Shrewsbury, for a race that day.
Fighting back tears, Mr Johnson recalled trying in vain to lift the car to aid his pal and said: "Stuart must have used the crane to lift the car and it probably slipped off the loop and fell on him."
Mr Bullas had usually been "a stickler for making sure things were properly done", Mr Johnson said, as he had lost two fingers in a metal press when younger.
Another friend Dave Powell summed up Mr Bullas as being "careful and fearless".
Mr Bullas's brother Graham, from Christchurch in Dorset, said: "He was a lovely person - very generous and considerate and it was summed up at the funeral. There were hundreds of people there."
He added: "Anybody working on a motor vehicle in the future who reads this sad story must take care to avoid such tragic accidents themselves."
Mr Balmain ruled Mr Bullas died of traumatic asphyxia due to being trapped under a motor vehicle and that it had been an accident.
Accident: Birmingham company director Stuart Bullas, whose body was crushed by his motorsport car (below) in his factory in Lye.