A three day inquest into the death of a supermarket vehicle inspector from Watford, who suffered severe head injuries when he fell from a lorry, ended today.

Anthony Cook from Bradshaw Road was taken to the QE2 hospital after he fell from an Ocado lorry cab and banged his head on the floor on July 28, 2009.

Despite two operations in the Royal Free Hospital to fix a subdural and extradural hematoma – a blood clot above and below the covering of the brain in the skull – he died three days after his birthday on August 4.

An inquest in Hatfield Coroner's Court, which ended today, recorded his death as accidental.

Gillian Cook described her husband as a wonderful grandfather of three boys and father of three girls, Gemma, Lindsay and Nicola.

Gary Holliman has worked for Ocado for five years, and was working as delivery driver in the Hatfield warehouse where Mr Cook was based.

He said: “Each vehicle has a damage sheet, very similar to when you hire a car. My unit [lorry] did not have the correct check sheet so I went to the office to get some help.”

Mr Cook, who was in the office, suggested Mr Holliman's check sheet might be another vehicle, which was parked next to his lorry, and went to investigate.

Gemma Cook, daughter, said: “He'd make friends with anyone, and help them out even if he didn't know them.”

On not finding the paperwork, Mr Cook climbed down from the cab, but fell before reaching the bottom step.

Mr Holliman added: “Tony was totally in control. He was about to, or had put his foot on the last step. I glanced behind me and when I looked back he was falling backwards. I didn't see how.”

After his fall he was taken to the QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City at 12pm. He had a CT scan of his brain at 1.14pm, which showed evidence of bleeding within the brain and outside its covering. There were also signs of a fractured skull from the incident.

Gemma Cook, daughter, said: “He didn't recognise any of us, he was shouting and getting up saying I have to go. He looked at us like “who are you, why am I here?” and pulled the cannula and heart monitor off.

“He became agitated and very confused, he used to give blood very regularly and was never fussed about needles, so it was quite out of character.”

The CT scan images were taken by a courier to the Royal Free Hospital, but while waiting for the images to be studied his condition deteriorated over the course of the afternoon.

Lindsay Cook, daughter, said: “By about six or seven he was just making sounds, he was agitated and didn't know what was happening.”

A second scan was ordered that same evening, and doctors at the Royal Free found “a significant increase in the size of bruising both inside and outside” the brain.

Dr Andrew Plaats, consultant radiologist at the Royal Free, added that the “midline” of the brain had moved to the right as a result of the swelling.

At 8.30pm that night Mr Cook was reassessed in the QE2 and was judged to have deteriorated badly. He was moved to the intensive care ward at the Royal Free and an operation to remove most of the large bruising was completed.

A third scan was taken on August 1 that showed there was still swelling in Mr Cook’s brain, but less severe than the previous scan.

However, the pressure on the brain spiked again, despite using drugs to control it, and a second operation was completed on August 3.

Sadly, Mr Colin Shieff, a consultant neurosurgeon at the Royal Free, said there was no consideration of a third operation.

“The brain was going to continue to swell and he was going to die,” he told the court.

The evening after the second operation, a pump delivering the drug noradrenalin failed momentarily before a backup could be started.

Mr Mansour, intensive care nurse for 20 years, said: “Mr Cook's blood pressure was coming down so he was on noradrenaline to increase it. He required high doses, the maximum dose, to maintain normal blood pressure.

“Suddenly I heard an unusual alarm, and I had to start the second pump. It said the machine was faulty and shut down. I called for assistance, we started CPR as the heart rate was very low, Mr Cook responded quite quickly and his blood pressure was stable again after about half an hour to an hour.”

Colin Shieff, a consultant neurosurgeon at the Royal Free, said Mr Cook's reaction to the failure of the pump confirmed that there was no hope of reviving him.

He said: “His brain was already terminal and unable to function, it was only the noradrenalin which was keeping his heart going.

“Falling from above your height has the potential to be catastrophic. Surgery was proposed and undertaken, we hoped he might survive but had no degree of certainty.

“What this failure did was reveal a heart which was unable to work on its own without massive chemical support, he could not have been retrieved or stabilised, or achieved any other outcome other than death.”

The next morning Mr Cook was taken off sedation, had a further cardiac arrest and died.

Mr Shieff added: “It was known that when that happened his heart would stop.”

At the final day of the three day inquest at Hatfield Coroner's Court today, the family of the lifelong Crystal Palace fan spoke fondly about Mr Cook.

Gillian Cook said: “He loved being a grandfather and was glad they were boys, he was looking forward to taking them to football matches.

“Nothing was too much to ask, he was kind and helpful, highly thought of, and never let you down.

“He was a family man and glorified taxi-driver, who took his responsibilities very seriously at home and work. He'd always be going to pick one of the girls up from somewhere, and he never minded.

“On the day he fell, Nicola got the phone call from the paramedic, because he had to pick her up from her boyfriend's house after his shift and, he was worried he wouldn't be able to go get her.”

Lindsay Cook, Wolverhampton, second year of studying to be a primary school teacher, told the inquest about how she had to wake her father after a shift at work when a window had become detached from the frame.

“He just came and fixed it. He'd always make sure everyone around him was safe. I wish he could have known my son better.”

The family thanked the jury and Coroner Edward Thomas for helping them to find out more about the final days of Mr Cook's life.