The inquest into the death of a 23-year-old man who died following a tractor tyre explosion on a farm in Preston has begun, three years on from his death. 

Joshua James Hardman, known by his loved ones as Josh, from Longridge, died from an injury sustained whilst working at Old Grange Farm, in Grange Lane, Hutton.

Today, his family, including his father Tim Hardman, will finally receive answers as to how he died.

On Friday, May 7, 2021, Josh had repaired a tyre puncture on a tractor on the farm, owned by W Hesketh & Sons.

As part of Josh's daily tasks, he would regularly tend to sheep, cows, and repair punctures to tyres, the inquest at County Hall in Preston heard.

However, on that day, Josh flagged an issue to his supervisor and co-owner of the farm, William Hesketh, to say the tyre was not 'sitting well' when he tried to put it back on to the tractor.

The inquest heard Mr Hesketh used a compressor to check the tyre pressure, but as he was doing so, the tyre exploded and parts of the tyre hit Josh in the head, knocking him unconscious and to the floor.

Mr Hesketh rang for an air ambulance, which took Josh to Royal Preston Hospital for surgery, where emergency services found bleeding and swelling on his brain and admitted him into the Intensive Care Unit.

There was hope for Josh after he was walking and talking in hospital, however a few weeks after the incident he contracted an infection that doctors from the hospital said could not be treated.

Josh died on Friday, June 11, 2021, at the age of 23.

At the time of his death, a GoFundMe was set up by the mother of Josh's daughter, Bonneigh.

Kayleigh Morris organised the appeal on behalf of Tim Hardman, and wrote: "Josh was very much the life of the party and would always be smiling, no matter how bad his day had been he was always smiling.

"He was a very kind and gentle person, and had a heart of pure gold. He was the type of person you’d go to for anything and he would drop everything to help anyone.

"He was so loving and did all he could to help others even before himself. He was so selfless and cared deeply about others.

"Josh was the type of man that you would describe as irreplaceable."

Further investigation by W Hesketh & Sons and the Health and Safety Executive will be conducted in the near future to conclude whether there is any criminal liability.

Anthony Banks, an inspector at HSE, told the court usual health and safety guidelines state a large commercial tyre should be restrained when it's pressure is being altered in caution of explosion.

The court heard the tyre that exploded close to Josh was not restrained, when guidelines suggested it should have been.

When Mr Hesketh was questioned how old the tyre was and how many times it had been repaired in the past, he answered 'no comment'.

Coroner Christopher Long said: "It is my first chance to tell the family how sorry I am, and that I send my condolences regarding Josh's death."

The inquest will continue today (Tuesday, January 23), where a jury will give its conclusion on his death.