Canterbury father killed cutting hedge

00:32, Jun 28 2013
Nigel Spackman
DEDICATED DAD: Nigel Spackman, who died in a hedge-trimming accident yesterday, with wife Katie and Patton, 1 month, and Pearse, 21 months.

A Canterbury man killed in a freak hedge-trimming accident had just celebrated the arrival of his second child and had recently changed jobs to spend more time with his young family.

Nigel David Spackman, 34, of Culverden, died from head injuries after being hit by a blade while trimming hedges in Leader Rd, between Waiau and Cheviot, about 9.40am yesterday.

Police said Spackman was using an industrial hedge trimmer beside the road when he stepped down from the machine and walked in front of the blade while it was still operating.

Nigel Spackman
SUPERB FATHER: Nigel Spackman with his 21-month-old son, Pearse.

His two "very upset" colleagues phoned emergency services, but he died at the scene, Sergeant Graeme Crosson said.

Last night, Spackman's wife, Katie, said her husband "lived for his family".

The couple had lived in Culverden for more than 10 years and had two sons, Patton, born a month ago, and 21-month-old Pearse, who was still expecting "Da" to come home.


"He's an absolutely superb husband and father," she said.

Spackman's mother, Karen, who had driven over from the West Coast, said the family's focus was on supporting each other.

"It's probably slowly starting to sink in. You keep on thinking, 'This can't be true; it can't be happening'. But, of course, it is,'' she said.

"Because there's a toddler here who is into everything, you have to keep going."

She said her son had previously worked at the Stockton coalmine near Westport as a diesel mechanic, but switched to hedge trimming last October.

The mine work meant long hours away, working seven days on, seven days off.

"With this job he was home every night, so he was really enjoying it," she said.

"His wife said he would come home smelling like Christmas every night."

She said her son was "a great father" and his toddler son "lives for him, just adores him".

Her son's other passion was vintage Hudson cars.

She said the family did not blame anyone for her son's death.

"It was very quick. He wouldn't have known what was happening," she said.

The couple had planned to stay in Culverden, where they had made several friends.

The director of the family-run company declined to speak to The Press.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is investigating, and the police have referred the death to the coroner.

The Press