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Sentencing following the death of a man in St Albans

 Published on: 20th October 2017   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category:

A company and two senior managers were sentenced at St Albans Crown Court yesterday (Thursday September 24) having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to offences connected to the death of a man in St Albans in 2013. Gareth Jones, who was 28 years old, died after a retaining wall collapsed on him as he worked to excavate land in Mile House Lane on January 30. Linley Development Limited, the company Gareth was working for, pleaded guilty to Corporate Manslaughter at court on September 7. Yesterday, they were fined £200,000 and were order to pay towards the prosecution costs. At the same hearing Managing Director Trevor Hyatt, who is 50 years old and from Chapel Lane in Letty Green pleaded guilty to contravening health and safety regulations on two counts, which have been found to be causative to the death. Project Manager Alfred Baker, who is 59 years old and from Highwood Road, Gazeley, pleaded guilty to the same offences. They were both sentenced to six months in prison for each offence (to run concurrently) which is suspended for two years. It follows a joint investigation by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit and the Health and Safety Executive. During sentencing Judge Bright said of Trevor Hyatt: “The aspect of your involvement which makes your culpability particularly high is that two days before the fatal accident you instructed your staff to carry out excavation work t an even lower level despite being advised that precautionary measure might need to be taken before doing so. I am satisfied that you chose to ignore that and that had you taken it, it is likely that Gareth Jones would still be alive today.” Detective Superintendent Sharn Basra led the investigation and said: “It is absolutely tragic that a young father lost his life in this way. No member of staff in this trade should ever be exposed to risk and it is right that justice has been done. “The health and safety failings identified during the investigation reinforce the need for businesses of all sizes to ensure that an effective safety management system in not only in place but implemented as the consequences of not doing so can be devastating. “Understandably Gareth’s family have been significantly impacted by his loss and whilst nothing can bring him back to them, I hope the sentence given will in some way go towards helping them move forward with their lives.” HM Inspector of Health and Safety Paul Hoskins said: “The risks of walls collapsing during excavation work are well known within the construction industry. Before any excavation work is carried out, walls that may be affected need to be examined by a competent person to ensure that they will not collapse. If there is a risk of collapse, then measures need to be taken to control that risk. It is not enough to look at a wall and presume it will not collapse because it appears to be in good condition. “This prosecution shows that where there is sufficient evidence to show that Directors and Senior Managers have failed to ensure the safety of workers, they, as well as the company, are liable to be prosecuted.”

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