Probe into Selkirk dad’s death delayed

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The grieving partner of the Selkirk dad killed at the Galashiels abattoir still does not know officially what happened to him.

A post mortem on David Barker – simply known as ‘Barker’ to his friends – has been postponed twice and is scheduled to take place this morning.

But as police and health-and-safety investigations continue more than a week after the tragedy, the 48-year-old’s work colleagues and bosses are banned from talking to Lynn Telford as she comes to terms with her beloved partner’s death.

Lynn of Leslie Place said: “I’ve got a huge bouquet of flowers from them. Some of them are family friends who we have known for a long time and we are not able to talk about it.

“I’m in limbo, I just don’t know what’s happening but hopefully I will find out today (Thursday) what the full story is.”

Emergency services were called to the Scottish Borders Abattoir on Winston Road last Wednesday morning after an accident when a metal partition fell on Mr Barker. The meat porter was pronounced dead at the scene.

He had rung Lynn, 51, earlier that morning, as he always did to check his 11-year-old son David had gone off to school okay.

He had told her that he was clearing out an unused store room and that he wasn’t happy about it.

“I told him to come home but he was that stubborn, he had to work. He was in the room by himself. The police told me nobody found him for an hour.

“They came to tell me what happened. The officer said there had been an accident but he couldn’t tell me anything else.”

She and young David visited the abattoir a day after the tragedy and saw the flowers people had laid in tribute.

“I have been to the funeral directors but we can’t do anything until they release the body.”

She said the police hoped that would be today, adding: “They have been brilliant.”

Lynn said last week’s tragic accident was not the first, for two years ago a knife had fallen from someone’s knife belt, when they were above Barker, and stabbed him in the shoulder.

Lynn and Barker, originally from Bathgate, first met at work 11 years ago and were friends before they started dating seven years ago. They moved to Selkirk in 2006 from Stow.

Lynn said: “He was a really happy friendly guy. He was easy-going, he never had a bad word to say about anybody. Everybody he worked with loved him.

“Friends say they are going to miss the joking – and that was our relationship, we were always winding each other up, our relationship was based on having a laugh.

“There are three pages of messages from people all over the country on my Facebook site and my house is like Clinton’s Cards he was so well liked. The support I have had is just fantastic.

“Barker was a real family man, he was a great father and he was a lovely grandfather (to Lynn’s seven grandchildren) – the kids doted on him. They classed him as their own, he was ‘Papa’ and he took them on holiday. He was like the Pied Piper to them, they loved spending time with him.”

Barker ran his own security company and both he and Lynn were event supervisors for a Livingston security company: “He loved his security work,” said Lynn, “and he had friends all over the country through it.”

She said Barker was always comedian Peter Kay’s bodyguard when doing security jobs involving the Bolton funnyman who told Barker he had based the club doormen, Max and Paddy, in his cult comedy series Phoenix Nights on him.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) spokesperson this week said: “The investigation is ongoing. HSE are working with the police on this.”

Last week abattoir secretary Jean Doogan said: “Our thoughts and condolences go out to David’s family.”

Repeated attempts by TheSouthern to speak to any of the abattoir directors were unsuccessful.