Investigation launched into butler 'crushed to death by lift' at Burghley House

Arthur Mellar was transporting luggage from an out-of-order lift

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The Independent Online

An investigation has been launched into the death of a butler who was crushed by a lift at the Burghley House in Lincolnshire.

Arthur Mellar, who had worked at the 16th century Tudor mansion for nine years, was said to have been lifting luggage off an out of order lift on 12 July, when it gave way and fell on his head - fatally wounding him.

Mellar was rushed to hospital after children heard the butler’s cries for help and alerted Burghley House’s owner, Orlando Rock.

However, after losing consciousness attempts by paramedics and doctors to revive Mellar were unsuccessful and he died from his injuries four hours later.

Mellar’s partner Gerwin Castillo arrived at the house to find Mellar unconscious and surrounded by paramedics.

Recounting the event to The Telegraph, Castillo said: “Orlando met us at the entrance and took me to where Arthur was.

"There were lots of people, paramedics all stood round him. He was unconscious. It was awful.

"When I got there, I knew he was not going to survive. His face was bloated and purple and he had bruises all over his neck.”

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"I stayed beside him until his very last breathe. I was hoping for a miracle.”

He added: "Now I have to accept that he is no longer here. What I find heart-breaking is that he died in such an awful way."

The fatal accident has led to an inquiry being launched into the safety standards in the home that was built by William Cecil during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Both the police and the Health and Safety Executive are looking into the Health and Safety practices at the property that appeared in the 2005 film The Da Vinci Code and has served as location for the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.

With over 100 hundred rooms and Elizabethan interiors, investigators will be trying to find out whether more safety checks could have been put in place that could have prevented Mellar’s death.

Originally from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, Mellar had 30 years of experience working as a butler behind him, and had previously served the Queen’s Mother.

Just months before the accident, he had posted a status update on Facebook that read "Stately Homes are an occupational hazard, such a bore", next to a picture of himself at work.

Burghley House's estate director David Pennell said the death was a “tragedy” and that the house would co-operate fully with the investigation into the butler’s death.

He added: "It is with the deepest sadness that we confirm the tragic death of Arthur Mellar, a highly-valued member of the household team at Burghley.”