A young father was killed when a five-tonne crane collapsed on him at a building site.
Carpenter Craig Page, of Caledonian Road, Islington, was working when the crane tipped over and crushed him under its jib.
The 26-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene in Denning Road, Hampstead, after the accident at about 12.30pm on Friday.
Mr Page had only been on the job – the construction of a modern four-storey house for a private client – for two weeks.
His devastated fiancée Michelle O’Donoghue, 29, a GP’s receptionist who has been left to bring up their 14-month-old daughter Shannon on her own, said: “We were always on the phone – he was like my shadow. At lunchtime, he didn’t ring me – but I didn’t think anything of it. Then I was walking home from work and a neighbour came running up to say the police were looking for me.
“They can’t take away my best friend and Shannon’s dad and get away without telling me what happened. I want to be able to put him to rest.”
Construction Safety Campaign secretary Tony O’Brien said: “This is just one of many crane disasters over the last few years. These are not accidents – they are totally preventable. The family will be devastated to have lost a loved one and a breadwinner. Our hearts go out to them.”
Mr Page, who had grown up in Holloway, was a self-employed shuttering carpenter – making wooden frames into which concrete is poured. He had got into carpentry when he left Holloway Boys’ School, in Hilldrop Road, Holloway, about 10 years ago and loved working with wood.
Witnesses reported that Mr Page was crushed when the crane fell into a hole that was being excavated on site, although the exact cause of death has not been established.
Coroner Dr Andrew Reid, at the opening of a St Pancras Coroner’s Court inquest on Tuesday, said: “A five-tonne crane with an extending boom arm was in operation. It appears Mr Page died at the scene.”
Miss O’Donoghue had only been talking about trying for another baby the day before her fiancé died. Last March they had celebrated Shannon’s christening with a lavish celebration at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Copenhagen Street, Islington – and they had been due to get married there in the next couple of years. It will now host Mr Page’s funeral.
Miss O’Donoghue said: “When I was pregnant with Shannon, we were going to have a quickie wedding but we put it off and Shannon was going to walk us down the aisle. Craig loved being a dad.
“He was football mad. He supported Charlton Athletic – saying that someone had to support them. He had got into fishing. But on the first attempt, he dropped his phone into the Regent’s Canal – and he only ever caught one fish. Everybody loved him. They knew him as happy chappy Craig.”
The Health and Safety Executive is investigating. Sarah Snelling, from the HSE’s field operations directorate, said: “The crane tipped over. The reason for that is not yet clear.”
Colin Calnan from contractors Harris Calnan said: “The HSE are investigating and we are complying fully with them. Everyone here is shocked and our thoughts are with the victim and his family.”
Mr Page’s funeral is being held at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Copenhagen Street, Islington, at 10am on Friday, March 20.