Site manager jailed for manslaughter

Grant Prior 9 months ago

Two men have been sentenced to a total of five years following the death of a father-of-five at a Northamptonshire building site.

Father-of-five Shane Wilkinson was trying to earn enough money to buy his kids shoes for school

Andrew Winterton and Dean Wortley appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Friday for sentencing following a nine-week trial.

Shane Wilkinson, 33, was employed as a grounds worker at the Conquest Homes building site in Collyweston when he died on September 4, 2014.

The court heard how Wilkinson had been standing next to a deep trench that had been incorrectly excavated by trench digger-driver Wortley.

When an unsecured trench wall collapsed, Wilkinson was completely buried underneath the rubble.

Despite the best efforts of fellow workers, he was pronounced dead at the scene after his body was recovered.

Site manager and director of Conquest Homes, Winterton,52, of Collyweston was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter.

He was sentenced to four years in jail. He will spend two in custody and two on licence. He was also ordered to pay costs of £90,500.

Wortley,48, of Market Deeping, Lincolnshire, who traded as Clearview Demolition, was convicted of safety charges.

He was given a 12 month jail sentence and will spend six months in custody and six months on licence. He was ordered to pay £20,000 towards costs.

Both men were convicted following a joint investigation by Northamptonshire Police and the HSE.

During the trial, the court heard evidence which showed the sides of the trench had not been properly or adequately secured and that Wortley and Winterton had ignored basic safety measures resulting in convictions against both men for significant and serious breaches of health and safety legislation.

Speaking after today’s sentence, senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Steve Woliter from Northamptonshire Police said: “As a single parent of five young children Shane Wilkinson had only been working on the Collyweston construction site for a couple of days during the early part of September 2014 because he needed money to buy school shoes for his children.

“His death was an avoidable and terrible loss of life due to the gross negligence of Winterton and the dangerous environment created by both him and Wortley.

“Shane’s death could easily have been avoided if Winterton and Wortley had shown any regard for basic safety measures on the site.

“No sentence imposed will ever turn back time for Shane or his family, however I do hope this sentence sends out a clear message to others that adequate safeguards must be put in place to prevent people from harm.”

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