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

Balfour resurrects Kilpatrick name for new M&E arm

New £300m revenue M&E business formed from merger of engineering services into engineering construction operation
1 day ago

Great Ormond Street starts talks for £190m phase 4

Trust aims to appoint main contractor and design team in the Spring
2 days ago

Galliford Try kicks-off London regen zone with £175m project

First major scheme in capital's Old Oak Common zone to start in the New Year
2 days ago

Speedy offloads large plant fleet for £14m

Ardent Hire snaps up troubled firm's excavator, dumper and road roller fleet
2 days ago

McAlpine wins £16m HQ for world’s biggest telescope

Work to start in December at University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank site
2 days ago

Three in race for £33m Strathclyde Uni sports and health complex

Balfour, BAM and Morgan Sindall in hunt for University's next Glasgow building project
2 days ago

Essential Living goes modular for 23-storey PRS tower

Fast-tracked Creekside Wharf will be one of the country's tallest modular buildings
3 days ago

CITB warns apprenticeship levy to cut funding by 30%

Industry training board warns firms will be deterred from taking on apprentices
2 days ago

Brickbats fly over looming brick shortage fears

Row kicks off after estate agents blame house price rises on lack of brick supply
2 days ago

Betting Spy: Jeremy Corbyn can make us all money

Tories look a good thing at evens to win a majority at the next election
2 days ago

Bam Mott JV green light for £36m Hull flood defences

Bam Nuttall/Mott MacDonald JV to shore up defences along a 7.5km stretch of the river
3 days ago

Government to miss new homes target by over 250,000

The Treasury is rumoured to be finalising plans for a fresh housing stimulus
2 days ago

Kier starts £48m Cambridge tech firm HQ expansion

ARM HQ expansion at Peterhouse Technology Park gets underway
3 days ago

Tube maintenance taken away from Amey in bid to save £80m

Transport for London to take work back in-house on Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines
3 days ago

Henry Boot bullish about post Brexit market

Developer and contractor sees no wobble in future work pipelines
3 days ago

Family Mosaic picks 17 firms for £500m build plan

Ardmore, Bouygues, Galliford Try and Willmott Dixon among preferred list
3 days ago

Immigration officers raid Liverpool Baltic Village site

Contractor W.I.S.E United faces fine of £20,000 for each worker if correct checks not carried out
3 days ago

Plans lodged for £150m Manchester PRS scheme

Work will start in Spring 2018, if planning is granted
3 days ago

Brookfield submits plan for 37-storey London city tower

Building work could start in summer 2018 after six-month demolition phase
3 days ago

Chinese cladding contractor facing HSE asbestos probe

Yuanda UK under spotlight over imported products
4 days ago

Carillion profit soars to £84m from support services

Blacklisting compensation to cost Carillion £10.5m
4 days ago

Just one week left to vote for best in construction

More than 10,000 votes in already for Enquirer awards: Book your places now
4 days ago

Costain profits dented by further losses on waste PFI

£11.4m hit on completing Manchester waste PFI plunges natural resources division into loss again
4 days ago

Robertson starts work on £333m Aberdeen conference centre

Green light for development by Henry Boot and Aberdeen City Council
4 days ago

Interserve wins £17m York University project

Piazza learning centre will be built on University's east campus
4 days ago

Revenue swoops on tax dodging tradesmen

Operation Dobbin catches 17 fraudsters to help level playing field for honest workers
4 days ago

Lendlease wins £200m contract to build Versace tower

50-storey luxury scheme designed in partnership with famous fashion house
5 days ago

BAM Construct nearly doubles profit to £13m

Mainstream building contracting business margin edges up to 0.6%
5 days ago

Balfour wins £42m London Nine Elms student tower

33-floor student tower kick-starts wider Vauxhall Square scheme
5 days ago

United Living looking for new subbies and suppliers

Meet the Buyer event in Northampton next week: Register now
5 days ago

Contractor services