A POSTMAN who died when a Royal Mail van rolled over and killed him was "desperately unlucky", a sheriff has said.

Ronnie Morrison, of Hacklett, Benbecula, died when he was dragged underneath his own mail van in Ford Terrace in Creagorry on March 28 last year.

The local man, known as Ronnie Mòr, was killed near his elderly mother Annalisa's home in the housing scheme near the South Ford causeway. He died of chest injuries and having his air supply cut off after being trapped underneath the vehicle, procurator fiscal David Teale told a fatal accident inquiry at Lochmaddy Sheriff Court yesterday.

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Representing Mr Morrison's family, lawyer Gordon Seaton stressed the tragedy was a "puzzle" as a police investigator stressed the vehicle would have rolled backwards immediately without either the handbrake or gears being applied.

Yet the vehicle rolled away only after Mr Morrison had returned from delivering post to an adjacent house first, he said.

The solicitor pointed out this "accident may not have happened" if the Royal Mail had an audio handbrake warning — now being introduced — plus "more focused training for postmen".

He said the family did not seek to "blame anyone but don't want this to happen to anyone else".

Earlier, Lorna Senior, a Macmillan nurse, said she discovered a body lying underneath the van after leaving a patient's house.

She said she initially thought it was someone working under the vehicle.

Sheriff Noel McPartlin said: "Mr Morrison was desperately unlucky to be fatally injured in this way."

He will issue his findings at a later date.