Six years in jail for building boss after fatal fall

Grant Prior 2 years ago
Share

A construction boss has been jailed for six years after being found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter after two of his employees fell through a roof they were repairing.

Allan Thomson of Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire and his company Building and Dismantling Contractors Ltd were also fined £400,000 and ordered to pay £55,000 court costs.

Building and Dismantling Contractors was subcontracted by main contractor C. Smith and Sons to demolish the Harvey’s and Carpetright buildings in Heaton Norris, Stockport in 2014.

Manchester Crown Court heard that a 47-year-old man sustained life-changing injuries and 42-year-old Scott Harrower died during the work.

Michael Smith of Rochdale and his company C. Smith and Sons (Rochdale) Ltd, were found guilty of safety offences.

Smith was jailed for eight months, fined £90,000 and ordered to pay £45,000 court costs.

The court heard it was originally planned that machinery would be used to remotely bring down the structure – a method that would have entailed minimum risk to those workmen tasked with the demolition.

But between winning the contract and the work actually being carried out, the decision was taken by Smith that the building should instead be dismantled piece by piece, meaning workmen would be required to work at height to remove the roof sheets prior to the structure being unbolted.

C. Smith and Sons then subcontracted the job of demolishing the roof to Building and Dismantling Contractors.

The roof of the building was made up of steel corrugated sheets with interspersed plastic skylights, which had deteriorated over time and had subsequently been covered with corrugated steel sheets in a bid to repair the damage.

On 20 January 2014 Harrower accidentally stepped through a skylight and nearly fell the 30 feet to the concrete floor below.

On that occasion he managed to prevent himself from falling, but the near miss did not prevent the men from returning to carry out their work the next day.

At just after 9am on Tuesday 21 January 2014, one of the group – a 47-year-old man – fell through a skylight to the concrete floor below, fracturing his spine, pelvis, right leg, heel and wrist.

Despite their colleague suffering horrific injuries, the men were ordered to return to the roof just hours later and at 4pm Harrower fell through a skylight to the concrete below.

He suffered catastrophic head injuries and died as a result.

Detective Chief Inspector Richard Eales said: “First and foremost, our condolences go to the families of Scott and his colleague, who were the victims of both companies’ criminal negligence and who died in tragically preventable circumstances.

“It is clear from the evidence that both Smith and Thomson saw an opportunity to make a quick profit without any thought for the workers they sent on to the roof, and as a direct result of that greed Scott died and another man suffered life-changing injuries.

“Smith and Thomson’s remorse did not then stretch to admitting their guilt, as both tried to hide behind their companies and refused to plead guilty to the charges levelled against them personally.

“Thankfully, the jury saw through their attempts and both now can face justice for the decisions that they made, decisions that have robbed one family of a loving partner, father, and son, and another of a man’s ability to live a life untainted by severe physical injury.”

Latest news

Middlewood Locks fast-tracked with £35m HCA loan

Chinese builder BCEG prepares for phase 2 start
38 mins ago

Green light for 800-home Thoresby Colliery regen

Around 800 homes to be built on site of Nottinghamshire's last deep mine
2 mins ago

Urban&Civic buys huge housing scheme from administrators

Developer steps in to take over Priors Hall site in Northamptonshire
5 hours ago

BBC backs Interserve with £140m contract extension

Contractor lands maintenance deal until 2023 across broadcaster's vast estate
5 hours ago

Midas set for £45m Southampton student halls

Developer is awaiting planning for 12-storey student room complex
5 hours ago

Javid floats borrow to build housing plan

Minister makes case for 300,000 house building programme
6 hours ago

Wates fined £640,000 for carbon monoxide blunder

Resident raises alarm after live flue blocked during work on 13-storey block of flats
5 hours ago

Plan for £40m Chester medical school

Chester University hopes to start construction in Spring 2019
5 hours ago

Peabody seeks partner for £3.5bn Thamesmead new town

Housing charity advances 11,500-home Thamesmead Waterfront plan
5 hours ago

Vinci looking for new suppliers on university job

Package contractors wanted for Swansea University job: Register your interest now
3 days ago

Highways England delays 22 major road projects

Programme rescheduling sees raft of projects delayed and 10 brought forward
3 days ago

Interserve lands £227m government maintenance deal

Contract wins still coming amid profit warnings
3 days ago

£345m confirmed for 76 local road projects – full list

Funding package includes £101m for a major project in Cheshire and one in Worcester
3 days ago

Four firms in race for Scottish road upgrade

Winner set to be announced next Spring for new stretch of A737
3 days ago

Aarsleff MD exits in management shake-up

Danish parent company to refocus UK business
4 days ago

Lagan Building on the hunt for new North West suppliers

Open day next week to highlight work opportunities: Register now
4 days ago

Betting Spy: West Ham can shock Spurs in the cup

Price is too big on visitors who could face a Tottenham second string
4 days ago

Interserve likely to breach banking covenants

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

Hinkley chief buyer joins Murphy

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

Marshalls expands in drainage market with CPM acquisition

Building products giant buys concrete pipe specialist for £38m
4 days ago

Lovell poaches Quintain director for London MD role

Ben Giddens joins as London regional managing director
5 days ago

Amey highways drivers wear anti-dozing collars

Contractor trials range of wearable technology to make workplaces safer
4 days ago

Skanska schools director joins Wates

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

Clugston to start £13m Leeds College of Building job

Phase 2 of Hunslet Campus in Leeds gets underway
5 days ago

Architect trio advance £200m Gateshead Quay plan

Plan for conference and exhibition centre to be submitted by the end of next year
5 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
5 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
5 days ago

Prime Minister summons house builders to strategy meeting

Theresa May looks to boost construction levels
5 days ago

Muse leads £75m Dartford town regen scheme

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

Contractor services