Builder admits manslaughter after friend’s death plunge

Grant Prior 2 years ago
Share

A builder who admitted failing to safeguard one of his employees has been sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years.

Michael Turner, 49, of Earls Colne, Colchester, appeared at Inner London Crown Court after pleading guilty to gross negligent manslaughter after one of his employees, and friend of 15 years, fell 30 feet through a roof and died.

Robert Bird, 57, of Colchester, was carrying out work as an employee of M T Construction, owned by Turner, on a barn roof in Kennett, near Newmarket, on May 20 last year when he fell to his death.

A joint investigation was immediately launch by Cambridgeshire police and the Health and Safety Executive.

Turner was arrested on June 2 last year on suspicion of gross negligent manslaughter; he answered ‘no comment’ to all questions put before him in interview.

A number of witnesses were also questioned as part of the investigation and officers were told how Turner had a ‘near miss’ just days before Bird’s death on the same roof.

Turner had stepped on a panel, heard a crack before moving away and seeing the roof panel cave in.

In a report carried out by a Special Inspector for the HSE, extracts read: “M T Construction developed a system of work which relied on using new roof sheets as a safe working platform but this was fundamentally flawed in that the unsafe practice of ‘walking the bolts’ was routinely adopted while laying out and attaching the fixing bars.

“A competent roofing contractor would not be carrying out the work adopting the system of work adopted by M T Construction, and a competent roofing supervisor would not have put his workforce in such a vulnerable position.

“The standard of safety management exhibited fell far below the standard expected of a competent roofing contractor and was woefully inadequate.”

The report also concluded Bird either slipped, tripped or walked from a newly fixed sheet onto a fragile one, and as a result of the lack of a barrier, fell to his death.

Detective Chief Inspector Jon McAdam, from Cambridgeshire Constabulary, said: “This truly tragic event just goes to show how important it is to have appropriate health and safety measures in place.

“Turner has already paid the ultimate price of losing one of his employees, and friends; that will be with him forever. My thoughts are with both families at this sad time.”

Linda Christian-Booth, who led the HSE team, said: “Falls from height, and in particular falls involving fragile roofs, are one of the main causes of work-related deaths in Britain. The risks are therefore well-known and documented, as is the guidance on how to reduce these risks.

“Adequate precautions were not taken in this case, such as netting and edge protection, which has led to the dreadful tragedy of Mr Bird falling 30 feet to his death.”

Upon sentencing, the judge accepted the depth of Turner’s remorse and suspended his sentence for two years after stating he felt an immediate prison sentence was not appropriate in this case.

Turner must also complete 240 hours of unpaid work as part of his sentence.

Latest news

Interserve likely to breach banking covenants

Interserve in talks with banks as rising cost of exiting energy from waste prompts another profit warning
21 hours ago

Aarsleff MD exits in management shake-up

Danish parent company to refocus UK business
17 hours ago

Betting Spy: West Ham can shock Spurs in the cup

Price is too big on visitors who could face a Tottenham second string
7 hours ago

Lagan on the hunt for new North West suppliers

Open day next week to highlight work opportunities: Register now
12 hours ago

Hinkley chief buyer joins Murphy

Laing O'Rourke procurement head Ian Holcroft joins rival contractor
2 days ago

Marshalls expands in drainage market with CPM acquisition

Building products giant buys concrete pipe specialist for £38m
21 hours ago

Lovell poaches Quintain director for London MD role

Ben Giddens joins as London regional managing director
1 day ago

Amey highways drivers wear anti-dozing collars

Contractor trials range of wearable technology to make workplaces safer
21 hours ago

Skanska schools director joins Wates

Martin Kramer joins Wates as Home Counties pre-construction director
2 days ago

Clugston to start £13m Leeds College of Building job

Phase 2 of Hunslet Campus in Leeds gets underway
1 day ago

Architect trio advance £200m Gateshead Quay plan

Plan for conference and exhibition centre to be submitted by the end of next year
2 days ago

O’Rourke firms fined £3.8m after concrete factory death

Court hears how worker was crushed by 11 tonne concrete panel

Lendlease profit rebounds despite Scottish problems

UK construction business returns to strong profit
2 days ago

McAlpine to start HMRC office at Cardiff central square

Work to start on fourth major office build at £400m city centre regen scheme
2 days ago

Prime Minister summons house builders to strategy meeting

Theresa May looks to boost construction levels
2 days ago

Muse leads £75m Dartford town regen scheme

Work to start in spring 2019 on Westgate mixed-use scheme
2 days ago

BAM submits £32m Jedburgh campus plan

Work to start in spring on borders all-through school campus
2 days ago

Trio picked for Midlands multi-storey parking plan

Bourne Parking, Blackwells and Dawnus in line for multi-storey park and ride programme
3 days ago

Multiplex staff let go as sites run down

Site office teams broken up as schemes nearing completion
3 days ago

Bouygues set for £300m Cavendish physics lab

Cambridge University awards first contract under new framework
3 days ago

Murphy to install 60km underground power cable

Contractor to smash UK record for horizontal drilling
3 days ago

McMullen lands £11m cladding package from O’Rourke

Specialist to start on site in April at Liverpool cancer hospital
3 days ago

Bellway delivers 11% rise in home completions

Bellway plans to open new division in the north as demand surges
3 days ago

Mace seeks to boost transport consultancy

Mace makes two senior appointments to drive airport and highways work
3 days ago

Lidl to build its largest UK warehouse in Peterborough

New £80m warehouse is discount giant's 6th to be announced this year
3 days ago

Concrete problems hit Hinkley Point tunnels

Material needs to be replaced after failing quality checks at nuclear plant
4 days ago

Interserve lenders call in advisers amid cash crunch fears

Interserve says work underway to give greater clarity on current trading and provisions
4 days ago

Balfour/Mott seals £115m area 10 road upkeep extension

Highways England opts to extend Area 10 assets support contract
4 days ago

Morgan Sindall nets £16m fisheries HQ

Existing Cefas buildings in Lowestoft will be refurbished before new office is built
4 days ago

Construction growth to stagnate next year

Construction faces recession if promised infrastructure spend delayed
4 days ago

Contractor services