Construction firm guilty in manslaughter test case

Aaron Morby 6 years ago
Share

Gloucester firm Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings has become the first company to be convicted under new corporate manslaughter legislation.

A jury at Winchester Crown Court found the firm guilty of failure to ensure the safety of young geologist Alexander Wright from Cheltenham.

Geotechnical engineer

The 27-year-old soil engineer was investigating ground conditions in a deep trench on a development site in Stroud when it collapsed and killed him in September 2008.

The company will be sentenced on Thursday and could be fined a percentage of their turnover.

It is the first prosecution under the new Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act. The firm denied the charge of corporate manslaughter.

No-one was in the dock during the three-week trial as the director of the company Peter Eaton, 61, is seriously ill and unable to stand trial.

Mark Ellison QC, prosecuting, told the jury that Imperial College graduate Wright had worked for Cotswold Geotechnical for two years.

He said that Wright had been left to work alone in the 3.5 metre-deep trench to ‘finish-up’ after the company director had decided to leave for the day.

The two people who owned the development plot decided to stay at the site as they knew Wright was working alone in the trench. About 15 minutes later they heard a muffled noise and then a shout for help.

While one of the men called the emergency services, the other one ran to the trench where he saw earth had fallen in and buried Wright up to his head.

He climbed into the trench and removed some of the earth to enable the young geologist to breathe. But more earth fell into the pit covering the geologist completely. Wright died of traumatic asphyxiation.

The hearing was told the pit was unsupported, which the Crown alleged was against health and safety laws.

Speaking outside court Cotswold Geotechnical’s lawyer, said: “The company will over the coming days consider all of its options including any potential grounds for appeal.”

Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings said it “deeply regretted the tragic incident which resulted in the loss of this talented young man.”

Latest news

Morgan Sindall wins Liverpool Knowledge Quarter work

Liverpool City Council awards two contracts worth £47m on Paddington Village scheme
16 hours ago

Watkin Jones targets PRS as profits surge

Strong student accommodation pipeline builds platform for growth
22 hours ago

Morgan Sindall crowned 2016 contracts champion

Wates, Willmott Dixon and Mace join top 10 firms winning most work last year
23 hours ago

Ex-Balfour finance chief to join Mitie after another profit warning

Two-day board meeting at Mitie to review strategy
23 hours ago

Lendlease set for landmark £350m Google HQ job

Decision taken on vast King's Cross building contract last Thursday
2 days ago

U+I plans £300m of office refurb work

Developer links up with American firm to target sites in London, Manchester and Dublin
22 hours ago

Loxam ups bid for Lavendon to £459m

Belgian and French giants slug it out for control of Leicester-based powered access specialist
22 hours ago

Plans in for £40m Aberdeen FC stadium

Dons press ahead with 20,000-seat stadium and football academy plan
23 hours ago

London Council unveils Wood Green regen plan

Major Wood Green town centre scheme relies on Crossrail 2 reroute
23 hours ago

Laing O’Rourke to be replaced on £80m Whitechapel job

L&Q going back to market for new contractor on mixed-use scheme
2 days ago

Callum Tuckett joins Multiplex

New role for former Laing O'Rourke commercial director
2 days ago

Green light for £300m Luton regen scheme

Leisure and residential scheme to transform former Vauxhall car plant
2 days ago

Kier gears up for £85m Eastbourne mall expansion

Work to get underway on Arndale shopping centre extension
3 days ago

CITB plans levy cut in bid to survive

Training body offers to cut levy from 0.5% to 0.3% of staff wage bill
3 days ago

Wates starts £40m Kilburn housing scheme

Residential arm strengthens housing team as workload rises
3 days ago

£39m Headingley stadium revamp approved

Cricket and rugby stadium revamp needs new funding plan
2 days ago

Video posted online of O’Rourke demolition collapse

Footage shows collapse on Edinburgh job where safety exclusion zone prevented injuries: Watch now
3 days ago

Carillion to start £150m Moda Manchester PRS scheme

Financing deal paves way for NOMA high-rise residential tower
3 days ago

Hall Construction calls in administrators

Administrators seek buyer for 130-year old Hull contractor
6 days ago

Mabey profit soars to £12m after business revamp

Bridge and engineering specialist steps up business investment
3 days ago

All change as Balfour/Vinci HS2 chief joins Murphy

Peter Anderson joins Murphy next month as MD for its southern operations.
6 days ago

Lendlease to start £75m Ashford scheme

Building work to start on town centre cinema and hotel complex
3 days ago

Durham Uni selects £150m contractor panel

Refurbishment and new works panel to also be used by Newcastle University
3 days ago

Cracked beams halt work at Royal Liverpool hospital

Remedial work planned after cracks found in two concrete transfer beams
6 days ago

Balfour piling expert joins Aarsleff

Chris Pantling to lead expansion of sheet piling division
6 days ago

Vinci tipped for £130m Hull Uni student village

Work set to start on first of a dozen student blocks in May
6 days ago

Willmott Dixon set for £28m Aberystwyth Innovation Campus

Innovation and Enterprise Campus will consist of five building elements
6 days ago

Government awards £1.2bn roads funding to councils

Bin lorries to be fitted with hi-tech kit to spot potholes
6 days ago

Hendry review backs £1.3bn Swansea Bay tidal scheme

Tidal lagoon schemes are cost effective rules former energy minister
7 days ago

Carillion lands £49m rail upgrade contract

Contractor to deliver electrification of stretch of line between Edinburgh and Glasgow
6 days ago

Contractor services