PRESSURE in a gas cylinder which killed a father-of-five could have been over 100 times that of a car tyre, a court was told.

Timmy Donaghue, 35, died after he was struck by a high pressure gas canister outside Arthur Brook scrapyard, Ravensthorpe, on August 29.

Manslaughter accused Matthew Dean, 25, of Thornhill Lees, had been opening the valve on an Argoshield cylinder, when the cylinder flew off hitting Mr Donaghue.

Co-accused Phillip Jennings, 49, of Hanging Heaton, had been attempting to vent other gas cylinders with a pickaxe just before the accident.

The pair, who had been emptying the canisters to sell them for scrap, both deny manslaughter through gross negligence.

Yesterday a jury at Leeds Crown Court heard from gas canister expert Paul Howells, a field manager for gas cylinder supplier BOC.

Mr Howell said he believed the Argoshield canister, weighing at least 65kg, was about three-quarters full before it was discharged and was pressurised up to 230bar (3,300psi).

By comparison car tyres are usually inflated between 25 and 30psi.

Prosecuting Nigel Wray asked: “How safe is it to unscrew the valve?”

Mr Howell replied: “It’s not safe. When we de-valve it, it’s always under a controlled situation”.

Mr Wray: “We see the cylinder effectively dancing around from gas that’s coming out of it.”

Mr Howells: “It would do that.”

Mr Wray: “In spite of the weight of the cylinder?”

Mr Howells: “If it was three-quarters full it would still have 230bar in that cylinder.”