AN eccentric elderly farmer was killed in a horrific accident when his clothing became entangled in a power shaft.

David Farrant, 76, had been working in a field when the tragedy happened as he was trapped by the unguarded power take off linking his tractor and a baler.

His clothes got caught in the spinning bar shaft and his body was rotated around the shaft leaving him with multiple traumatic injuries.

An inquest heard from his friend Thomas Gill, who did work for the bachelor farmer, who lived at Clatworthy.

Mr Gill said he was due to meet Mr Farrant one day in October and was worried when he did not show up.

Eventually Mr Gill found him in a remote field near Wiveliscombe slumped over the power take off which left him "shocked and saddened".

Mr Gill said: "David was always on about safety because there had been a fatality at the farm 13 years ago."

He described Mr Farrant as "happy go lucky" but said his work practises differed to his own because Mr Farrant would do things the hard way rather than simplifying things.

"He was eccentric and made odd decisions on many occasions," said Mr Gill.

Police and a Health and Safety Executive inspector said the tractor and baler were in poor conditions and the power take off shaft was unguarded and probably had been for years.

They said Mr Farrant would have become entangled by his clothing in the unguarded shaft which was rotating at speed and would not have had to time to be able to free himself.

The senior Somerset coroner Tony Williams recorded an accidental death conclusion.

He said: "David Farrant became entangled in an unguarded power take off shaft between his tractor and baler and sustained fatal injuries."