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Ongoing prosecutions

Name of Deceased Date of Death Trial Date Court Defendants Position
Mark Wilkin 5 December 2007 1 October 2010 Miadstone Crown Court Edward Day Company owner
Neville and Cheryl De'ath 2 March 2007 July 2009 Winchester Crown Court Translact Company
Robert Taylor Company Director
Nicholas Read Transport planner
Mark Wright 12 April 2005 25 August 2009 Mold Magistrates Court Robert Owen Roberts General Manager
Alexander Wright 5 September 2008 17 June 2009 Stroud Magistrate Court Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings Ltd Employing company
Peter Eaton Director
Lee Mason 4 April 2007 12 January 2009 Bristol Crown Court Roy Hill Manager
Michael Hill Manager
Brian Wembridge Geoff Wicker 3 December 2008 8 June 2009 Lewes Crown Court Martin Winter Director
Nathan Winter Director

Death of Mark Wilkin

14 July 2009 Newsshopper (N Kent) Construction company boss charged with manslaughter after truck driver dies

Edward Day, owner of E J Construction Ltd, appeared at Maidstone Crown Court on July 13 2009 charged with manslaughter after the death of Mark Wilkin, a dumper truck driver.

Mark died after his truck plunged into a lake off Salt Lane, Cliffe, on December 5, 2007.

The plea hearing was set for 17 September 2009 and the trial date for 1 October 2010.

Edward Day also faced two health and safety allegations.

Deaths of Neville and Cheryl De'ath

9 July 2009 BBC News Haulage bosses deny manslaughter

Neville and Cheryl De'ath died in a road traffic incident on the A303 on 2 March 2007.

In July 2009 at Winchester Crown Court Translact, the parent company of Taymix Transport Ltd, Company director Robert Taylor and transport planner Nicholas Read faced two counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

The defendants were also charged with health and safety breaches.

Both men denied the manslaughter charge and with Robert Taylor's father Rory, also deny breaching the Health and Safety At Work Act.

Lorry driver Maciej Szcygiecki from Poland has already pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving after the vehicle he was driving hit the De'Ath's car at Keysley Down, near Chicklade.

The court was told that the Taylors and Mr Read pressured their drivers to break road safety rules by working excessive hours.

Tachographs fitted to company vehicles to record driving hours were 'forged', the court was told, 'in order to cover up the companies' procedures of making the drivers work excessive hours'.

Prosecuting, Sasha Wass QC, said, 'If a man is put behind the wheel and that man is too tired to drive safely, the risk of a crash involving a fatality... is only one step away, and there is no better example than what happened on 2 March, 2007.'

Death of Mark Wright

25 Jun 2009 GratisGuidance Did ignoring Health & Safety lead to manslaughter?
11 Feb 2009 Daily Post Saltney family's dismay after blast horror inquest
12 Jan 2007 ic Cheshire Probe of factory death extended
13 Apr 2005 BBC Wales Man dies after factory explosion

Mark died after an explosion at the metal company in North Wales. Mark died from 90 per cent burns and inhaling high temperature fire gasses at Deeside Metals, Saltney when aerosols he was crushing, ignited, creating a fire-ball that set him on fire.Four other workers were treated for minor injuries and smoke inhalation. The fire service said it was called to the factory at about four o'clock in the afternoon and sent four pumps to tackle the subsequent blaze.

Mark was treated at the Countess of Chester Hospital following the explosion but died of his injuries during the night.

Following his death, Mark's parents Dorothy and Douglas Wright campaigned for stronger legislation to prevent deaths in the workplace. They went to Parliament and lobbied for amendments to the then Corporate Manslaughter Bill. They believed the Bill was not strong enough to hold employers to account when employees died.

The Wrights want directors held legally and criminally responsible for the health and safety of their workforce, not simply the company which could only be fined.

An inquest was opened at the North East Wales Coroner's Court in January 2007. In May 2006 the Coroner John Hughes was told the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had decided there was no case to bring manslaughter charges following Mark's death.

But in December Mr Hughes revealed he was told by police that following a meeting with the family, North Wales Police carried out a review of the police investigation. That review, by a senior officer, concluded that a further eight witnesses should be interviewed.

Detective Inspector Vaughan told the Coroner that it was possible the matter would be re-referred to the CPS. Subsequently, however, the CPS confirmed that there would be no charges.

In February 2009 after a two week inquest held at the Cheshire Coroner's Court in Macclesfield Town Hall, the Coroner, Nicholas Rheinberg, told the jury that to return a verdict of unlawful killing they must unanimously agree and be satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt.

Instead, they delivered a Narrative verdict which gave details of the journey of the aerosols from Mold-based Jeyes, via haulier Ray Morgan, to Deeside Metal where Mark was told to crush them in a baling machine.

In their verdict the jury said, 'For a period of time preceding April 7, 2005, a large quantity of unmarked, sealed canisters inside unmarked drums, were stored in the waste yard of an industrial site together with drums for recycling. On April 7, 2005, these unmarked canisters were transported from their place of origin without any supporting documentation as to the nature of the canisters or their contents. There was no record that the canisters had left their place of origin and they were not recorded in the documentation for the consignment.

'The staff responsible for waste management at the site of origin had not been trained formally in waste practice, systems or procedures or the vetting and management of contractors used for the transport of waste from the site. The waste drums and sealed containers were accepted at the scrapyard on the basis of unsubstantiated verbal assurances from the haulier.

'Superficial tests by untrained staff at the yard did not identify the hazardous nature of the contents of the canisters.

'On the afternoon of April 12, 2005, Mark Wright was instructed to bale the sealed canisters in the small electric baling machine. He was assisted by the general manager until he was called away. Neither wore the protective clothing required by the manufacturers’ manual.

'As a result of the baling operation, flammable liquids and gases were released. At approximately 16.22pm an explosion was heard and Mr Wright was seen to be on fire.'

Following the inquest, the family’s solicitor, Liz Graham, said, 'Mark’s widow and family would like to thank the coroner for his care, his courtesy and his determination to uncover the circumstances which led to Mark’s death.

'The verdict means that the jury were not satisfied that there was enough evidence to indicate that, beyond all reasonable doubt, the death was unlawfully caused. Although the family are disappointed at this, they understand that there may still be prosecutions against those who were directly responsible for Mark’s health and safety at work.

'The family hopes that their long fight to uncover the truth will give hope to other families whose loved ones have needlessly had their lives cut short, due to unsafe systems at work.'

Mr Rheinberg told the family, 'It has been a long and hard ordeal for you.'

In June 2009 it was announced that Robert Owen Roberts was to appear at Flintshire Magistrates Court in Mold on August 25 2009 to face a charge of gross negligence manslaughter and a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Crown Prosecution Service spokesman Tim McAtackney said, 'The Crown Prosecution Service has authorised charges of gross negligence manslaughter and breaching Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 against Robert Roberts in relation to the death of Mark Wright in April, 2005. We have written to Mrs Wright, Mark’s mother, to explain the situation and the lawyer in the case is keeping her updated on progress. Following a recent review and the receipt of further evidence in May, the CPS lawyer decided that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of a conviction and it is in the public interest to charge Mr Roberts.'

Death of Alexander Wright

23 Jun 2009 This is Gloucestershire Director in court on manslaughter charges
17 Jun 2009
Company director faces first corporate manslaughter charge
23 Apr 2009 CPS CPS advises first corporate manslaughter charge under new act
10 Sep 2008 Gloucestershire Police Family Of Alexander Wright Pay Tribute To His Memory

In the first application of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, the Crown Prosecution Service in April 2009 authorised a charge of corporate manslaughter against Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings Ltd in relation to the death of Alexander Wright on 5 September 2008.

Alexander, who was employed by Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings as a junior geologist, was taking soil samples from inside a pit which had been excavated as part of a site survey when the sides of the pit collapsed crushing him.

Peter Eaton, a director of the company was charged with gross negligence manslaughter and with an offence contrary to Section 37, Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings Ltd was also charged with failing to discharge a duty contrary to Section 33, Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Kate Leonard, reviewing lawyer, CPS Special Crime Division, explained, 'Under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 an organisation is guilty of corporate manslaughter if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a death and amounts to a gross breach of a duty of care to the person who died. A substantial part of the breach must have been in the way activities were organised by senior management. I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction for this offence.'

Mr Eaton appeared at Stroud Magistrates' Court on 17 June.2009 to face charges both as an individual and on behalf of the company. The case was committed to Bristol Crown Court on 23 June and Eaton was granted unconditional bail. The next hearing was to be 19 August 2009 when a plea would be entered.

Death of Lee Mason

13 Jan 2009 BBC News Pair deny labourer manslaughter
13 Jan 2009 This is Bristol Pair deny Bristol farm labourer's manslaughter
12 May 2008 BBC News Pair in court over labourer death
17 Apr 2007 BBC News Farm worker, 17, crushed to death

Lee Mason, 17, was crushed in a soil recycler on 4 April 2007 at Ridings Farm in Dundry, near Bristol which is owned by the Hill family who run a skip hire business on the site.

Roy Hill and Michael Hill who run RE Hill and Son were accused of failing to place a protective guard on the machine in which Lee died and were charged with his manslaughter.

A provisional trial date of 12 January 2009 was set at Bristol Crown Court.
The men also faced charges of failing to discharge a duty and contravening the Health and Safety Act.

Avon Coroner's Court previously confirmed that the teenager died when his neck was broken by the machine.

On 13 January 2009 Roy and Michael Hill pleaded not guilty to manslaughter at Bristol Crown Court as the trial continued.

t is alleged that the Hills failed to train the teenager in using the machine and allowed it to be used without a working tailguard.

Roy Hill also denied contravening the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to ensure the safety of employees at the site with a proper system of supervision and training.

Michael Hill denied contravening health and safety law by failing to take reasonable care of employees.

Deaths of Brian Wembridge and Geoff Wicker
15 Jan 2009 Sussex Express Two-minute silence for blast factory firefighters
18 June 2008 BBC Pair in court over depot deaths
9 June 2008 BBC Firework boss charged over deaths
24 April 2008 Sussex Express Firework firm boss bailed over explosion tragedy
13 Feb 2008 The Argus Factory owner 'arrested over firemen's deaths'

Geoff Wicker and Brian Wembridge died on December 3 2006 at the Festival Fireworks factory at Marlie Farm, Shortgate, near Lewes.

Geoff, 49, a watch officer at Heathfield fire station, and Brian, 63, a brigade photographer, were among the first at the scene of the disaster. They were killed by an explosion which shook the ground ten miles away.

Nine other firefighters, a police sergeant and two members of the public were injured. Nine fire engines, three specialist vehicles and several cars were wrecked by the blast at a cost of £3.8million to the fire service.

Martin Winter, the fireworks factory owner, and his son Nathan Winter, were arrested in February 2008 on suspicion of the manslaughter of the two firefighters.

The arrests sparked calls for trading at the site to be suspended until all investigations are complete. The firm is still licensed to store more than 20 tonnes of explosives and has begun trading again.

The Health and Safety Executive has no powers to suspend a firm's licence while criminal investigations are under way.

Firefighters' representatives say the business should not be allowed to deal in fireworks until all the facts about the disaster are known.

Jim Parrott, South East secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said, 'As we understand it there have been no changes to the way the people operate so the same dangers are there for our members.

'We have got to find out why that happened and how to prevent it happening again. You should have to find out what the problems are before you trade again.'

Martin Winter is a director of Festival Fireworks GB and five companies based in and around Lewes related to manufacture and sale of fireworks and fireworks displays.

Nathan Winter was not registered as a director of Festival Fireworks at the time of the disaster. But he was subsequently appointed director and secretary of Festival Special Events Ltd in High Street, Lewes, Festival Fireworks GB at Marlie Farm and Explosive Atmosphere Ltd at Ringmer, near Lewes.

In April 2008 Martin Winter, together with his sons Nathan and Stuart, returned to Eastbourne Custody Centre for questioning.

They were released on police bail until May 29 when they were charged with the manslaughter of the two firefighters and were bailed to appear at Lewes Magistrates' Court on 18 June 2008. On that date the pair were bailed to appear at Lewes Crown Court on 25 June.

The company, now known as Alpha Fireworks Ltd, was summonsed for breaches of the manufacture and storage of Explosive Regulations 2005.

Martin Winter and Nathan Winter pleaded not guilty to manslaughter at Lewes Crown Court on October 2 2008. The trial date was subsequently set for 8 June 2009 and was expected to last six to eight weeks.

In June 2009 it was announced that the trial would commence 9 November 2009 at Lewes Crown Court.


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Page last updated on July 21, 2009