Adam Forrester had been enjoying a night out just hours before his body was found (Image: Stoke Sentinel)

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A young dad was found dead at a recycling plant after he was believed to have climbed inside a waste bin which was emptied into a rubbish truck.

Adam Forrester had been enjoying a night out just hours before his body was discovered in a pile of waste as it was being sorted.

Now – almost four years on from the tragedy on September 12, 2017 – his family finally hope to get answers at a jury inquest into his death.

The first day of the three-day hearing focused on the 30-year-old’s last known movements, Stoke on Trent Live reports.

He’d been staying at the Macari Centre in Hanley and had gone out for the night with a friend, Andrew Lloyd, from the hostel. Both had been drinking.

Mr Lloyd recalled: “Before we went into a nightclub, we took off our jackets. We put them in a couple of bins. They were big ones that lift up.”

The inquest into his death continues

They’d intended to pick up the coats later. It’s not known if Mr Forrester had fallen into the bin while trying to retrieve his black jacket.

Another theory was that he may have climbed inside to shelter from a rainstorm.

Mr Lloyd lost sight of his friend in the nightclub. Mr Forrester is thought to have gone to another club afterwards. The last image of him alive was caught on CCTV as he walked along Trinity Street at 3.26am.

At 4am, Steven Fricker began his shift as a driver at H Brown and Son Recycling. His route that morning would take him to three collection points in Trinity Street.

It included emptying two bins near a nightclub, which contained glass and municipal waste.

In total, he put 102 bin loads into his wagon before driving to Sneyd Hill industrial estate, in Burslem.

Giving evidence yesterday, Mr Fricker said he checked every bin before pushing the button and letting the waste fall into the hydraulic compaction. There was "nothing untoward".

The checks included kicking each bin, lifting the lid to see inside and looking through a viewing window in the truck.

North Staffordshire assistant coroner Margaret Jones asked Mr Fricker: “Adam was 16 stone and 6ft tall. If he was in the bin and you had checked it, is it likely that you would have seen him?”

Mr Fricker replied: "Yes.”

But Mr Forrester’s family questioned whether the bin wagon was too dirty to have seen through the mirrors and viewing window.

Lawyers acting for Brown’s suggested the body may have arrived at the depot in a different waste vehicle altogether.

Carl Lightfoot, who was on duty that day, didn’t see Mr Fricker’s lorry being emptied.

He began using a grabber to help sift through the rubbish in the top shed.

Recalling the moment he spotted Mr Forrester’s arms and legs, he said: “I had to look twice.”

He laid the body gently on the floor and alerted his boss.

Asked at the inquest if Mr Forrester could have arrived in a different container, Mr Lightfoot said it was "possible".

The depot was also used by contractors, whose waste was normally ‘pre-sorted’ before being taken to the top shed.

A post-mortem examination confirmed Mr Forrester died from multiple injuries. Contributory factors included alcohol intoxication, cocaine abuse and an enlarged heart with an irregular heart rhythm.

Forensic pathologist Dr Nicholas Hunt said: “In my opinion, these are the sorts of injuries that may be seen in somebody who is squeezed by mechanical force within a confined space.”

The inquest continues.