Construction firm guilty in manslaughter test case

Aaron Morby 5 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

London now third most expensive city to build in

Capital only topped by Zurich and New York in terms of construction costs
7 hours ago

British Steel name returns as Tata seals £1 deal

Sale pf Long Products business to Greybull completed
52 mins ago

Bidders day for £160m London hospital upgrade

Springfield hospital housing scheme in south London to fund mental health facilities
14 mins ago

£60m Westminster City Hall refurb out to tender

Council calls up firms for 1960s high-rise HQ revamp
47 mins ago

Wates lands £60m Hammersmith Police Station refurb

Construction set to start in November on major revamp for the Met
15 hours ago

Balfour/Mott team smashes motorway resurfacing record

Traditional seven-night resurfacing job completed in two nights
19 mins ago

Telford Homes pipeline soars to £1.5bn

Telford Homes books record revenue and profit from London non-prime housing
44 mins ago

Sir Robert McAlpine racks up £52m loss

Losses prompt restructuring with construction set to return to profit this year
5 days ago

Summer safety update to make PQQ process simpler

Latest update to PAS 91 as battle continues to make prequals easier for contractors
18 hours ago

Amazon mega-shed approved for Tilbury

Green light for 2m sq ft distribution centre next to Port of Tilbury
19 hours ago

Telford Homes seals build to rent deal with M&G

Sale of site allows construction to start on 22-storey resi tower in East London
23 hours ago

Battle begins to be named best in construction

Nominations start rolling in for Construction Enquirer Awards: Enter now
23 hours ago

Casting starts for £130m film and TV centre builder

Mystery funder initiates procurement for new South Bank project in London
24 hours ago

Race restarts for northern highways upkeep

Bid re-runs start for area 13 and 14 highways maintenance deals
23 hours ago

Veteran SES boss joins Interserve Engineering

Jim Marner leaves SES to head Interserve Engineering's north east arm
24 hours ago

Mott jv wins £50m A96 dualling design

Design work will start next month on 29-mile western section of the A96
24 hours ago

BAM Nuttall creates head of innovation role

Colin Evison takes up new role and seeks to boost technical team
2 days ago

Plans go in for £185m Manchester towers

Twin resi towers and office block planned next to Victoria Station
5 days ago

Baldwins facing legal action over Blackwall Tunnel chaos

Transport for London tries to reclaim cost of resurfacing road following leak from mobile crane
5 days ago

Green light for £400m Kingston town centre revamp

Construction to start on Eden Walk scheme in early 2017.
5 days ago

HGV drivers warned after road worker crushed by runaway vehicle

20-year-old crushed to death on A21 repair site after materials delivery goes horribly wrong
6 days ago

Contest starts for £15m Tameside Interchange

Transport for Greater Manchester expects to start work at the end of this year
5 days ago

Bouygues Development rebrands as Linkcity

Renamed UK development business starts with a £1.3bn portfolio of schemes
5 days ago

Kier wins £8m Gloucester bus station

Council hopes bus station will lead £60m development of the King's Quarter
5 days ago

Barratt & Segro confirmed for £3.5bn Meridian Water site

Massive new housing scheme will create 10,000 construction jobs
6 days ago

Kier starts £19m home for last Concorde

New Filton Airfield museum will tell the story of Bristol’s aerospace industry from 1910
6 days ago

Plans unveiled for London Elephant & Castle town centre

Ambitious high-rise scheme to replace famous pink shopping centre and London College of Communication
6 days ago

Henry Boot dismisses talk of construction slowdown

More doubts cast over Government stats as business booming at construction division
6 days ago

Balfour Beatty bags £130m M20 lorry park job

3,600-space lorry park to ease congestion from queueing lorries when cross-Channel transport is disrupted.
6 days ago

BAM wins £41m Birmingham City Uni project

Work starts next month on the City South Campus in Edgbaston
6 days ago