Man killed trying to charge iPhone while lying in the bath

Richard Bull is believed to have been resting the phone on his chest when it fell into the water

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A man was electrocuted as he tried to charge his mobile phone in the bath, an inquest has heard. 

Richard Bull died when his iPhone charger made contact with the water while he was taking a bath in his home in Ealing, west London.

The 32-year-old is believed to have plugged the charger into an extension cord from the hallway then rested it on his chest while using the phone.

He suffered from such severe burns to the chest, arm and hand that his wife, Tanya Bull, believed he had been attacked at first.

Ms Bull called 999 but paramedics said he was already dead by the time they arrived, The Sun reported.

Assistant Coroner Dr Sean Cummings ruled the death an accident but will prepare an official prevention of future death report to send Apple about the case. 

He told West London Coroner’s Court: “These seem like innocuous devices but can be as dangerous as a hairdryer in a bathroom.

“They should attach warnings. I intend to write a report later to the makers of the phone.”

Mr Bull had been getting ready to meet family members to exchange Christmas presents when the accident happened on 11 December. 

His brother Andrew said: “We can all be careless at times.  You don’t think there is enough electricity to do this, but there is.

“It was such a needless and tragic accident.”

But Steve Curtler, from safety charity Electrical Safety First, said people underestimate how powerful chargers can be. 

He told the BBC that a mobile phone or a laptop typically only has a low voltage of 5V to 20V and would not harm you if they made contact with water – but connecting them to the mains electricity supply carries a much greater risk.

He said: "Although the cable that is plugged in to your phone is 5V, somewhere along the line it's plugged into the electricity supply and you're reliant on that cable and a transformer to make sure you don't get into contact with the main voltage.

"You're wet, which conducts electricity a lot better; you're in the bath with no clothes on, so skin resistance is less. You're vulnerable in the bathroom." 

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