Developer and foreman jailed after death of carpenter

Grant Prior 2 years ago
Share

A property developer and a foreman have been jailed for manslaughter following the death of a carpenter on a site in Brighton.

Michael Holland and Grant Oakes are now in jail

Company director Michael Holland, 69 and foreman Grant Oakes, 46, had denied a charge each of gross negligence manslaughter in connection with the death of 55-year-old carpenter David Clark.

Clark died on October 28, 2014, after falling through a gap in the first floor of a building he was working on at Stanmer Park stables a month before.

A jury found Holland and Oakes guilty following a three-week trial at Lewes Crown Court.

The pair were sentenced to nine months in prison each. Holland was also have to pay £35,000 in costs and Oakes will pay £10,000.

Lewes Crown Court heard during the trial that Clark, who worked as a subcontractor for Holland’s company, was airlifted to St George’s Hospital, Tooting, in a critical condition after falling 14ft to the ground.

A month later he died at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton.

At the start of the three-week long trial, Holland, owner and sole director of Hove-based Cherrywood Investments Ltd, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

In doing so he accepted that neglect on his part meant that persons on the site were exposed to risks to their health and safely when working at height.

The company, Cherrywood Investments Ltd, also admitted a similar offence.

Oakes was also accused of failing to take suitable measures to prevent, as far as possible, any person working on the site, falling a distance liable to cause them personal injury. He had denied the offence but was found guilty.

Clark’s fiance Beverley Clark said: “These two men had a duty of care to a man that worked for them.

“That man was my fiancé, that man went to work one morning and never came home again as a result of an accident that should never have occurred.

“Dave was not just a name, not just a statistic – like I feel he has been portrayed in this case.

“He was real. He was my partner, my love, my rock. He was a loving and devoted granddad. He was a caring and supportive father. He was a true friend to so many people and always put others needs and concerns before his own.

“Dave died too soon in what I feel were totally unnecessary and unfair circumstances. His loss will be felt forever.

“Nothing will bring my Dave back. Nothing will heal my broken heart or make my life worth living again.

“But if this awful experience I have had to go through, reliving it all again and again daily in court, means it highlights the dangers and stops other families having to suffer the heartache and loss that we suffer daily, then I can take a little peace from this knowledge.

“The only good that can come out of all this, is if it stops even one single company from cutting corners to earn a few extra pounds in profit.

“It should make individual people stop and think, “No I’m not taking that risk, not even if it means losing my job” because you can get another job. You cannot get another life.”

Detective Inspector Mick Jones said: “Dave Clark went to work that fateful morning in 2014 and his partner Beverley had every right to expect him to return.

“However the unsafe conditions on that building site on which numerous men were working, particularly those working at height, meant that it wasn’t to be.

“I hope that these convictions send a strong message to those within the construction industry that the safety of those working on sites should be of paramount importance.

“Where this is not the case, the Health and Safety Executive and police will tenaciously pursue them and bring them to justice.

“People often blame health and safety for stopping people doing everyday things but the whole reason is to prevent serious injury and death like the tragic death of Dave Clark.

“I hope this sends message that are real consequences of a blatant disregard for the well being of their workers.”

Latest news

More contractors suspended from Prompt Payment Code

Galliford Try, Ferrovial and Alun Griffiths among firms not paying on time
2 hours ago

Lendlease names new London construction chief

Claire Pettett has over 11 years experience at Lendlease mostly on the finance side
3 hours ago

Construction restructure costs Galliford Try £10m

Average group net debt rises to £187m after year of writedowns
7 hours ago

Six climate activists arrested at concrete plant

Police chief warns construction companies they will be targeted during week of action
8 hours ago

Civils and concrete specialist OHOB delivers £27m profit

O’Halloran & O’Brien builds revenue to £300m after expanding from south east base into the Midlands
8 hours ago

Worker killed on Asda extension site

Victim "hit by digger bucket" in site tragedy
17 hours ago

Leeds Merrion Centre 17 storey office block approved

New office block in shopping centre will cost over £50m to build
7 hours ago

£17m Blackpool hotel project out to bid

Muse invited bids for Talbot Gateway scheme Holiday Inn
9 hours ago

Countryside wins £400m London Camden Lock estate rebuilds

Work could start on 700-home estate rebuild late next year
1 day ago

Contractor fined for ignoring site welfare order

Manchester firm failed to provide decent facilities for workers
9 hours ago

Murphy suffers £5.8m loss

Revenue up 4.4% to £781m driven by transport and power projects
1 day ago

London Mayor uproots Tulip Tower plan

Sadiq Khan blocks 305m skyscraper plan despite city planners' approval
2 days ago

Third Van Elle board director exits

John Foster, group commercial director, departs six months after joining piling specialist
1 day ago

Hunt starts for partner to deliver £1.5bn Wales schools plan

Welsh Government is looking for partner for new public private schools delivery model
1 day ago

HS2 unveils plans for “people mover” on new viaduct

2.3km route will transport people to Birmingham Airport
1 day ago

Manager merry-go-round causing mayhem for contractors

Construction bosses walk-in to new jobs no matter how poor their track record is
1 day ago

Contractor hunt starts for new £1.7bn Stonehenge route

Highways England hopes to attract bids from "some of the world’s best construction companies"
2 days ago

29 arrests in immigration raid on BAM King’s Cross site

Illegal Albanian, Indian and Lithuanian workers detained during swoop on flagship London job
2 days ago

Call to delay VAT changes as chaos looms for contractors

Industry leaders demand six month delay to October deadline as contractors unaware of tax changes
3 days ago

Hull contractor C Spencer back in profit

Specialist records £1.8m profit after revenue cut to £54m in year of consolidation
2 days ago

ISG wins £23m Cardiff Uni science building

Six-storey maths and computer block will be built on the Cathays campus
2 days ago

Local civils firm lands £17m London Airport job

East London civils contractor Kilnbridge wins biggest contract this year
5 days ago

Tolent starts £34m Leeds rental flats job

12-storey block is being built for Grainger as part of the Holbeck Urban Village
2 days ago

Boost your online presence – join the Enquirer Directory

Site for suppliers and buyers showcases products, services and latest stories
1 year ago

Foundations specialist Aspin goes into administration

All staff sent home as ground engineering firm goes under
6 days ago

HPL cladding to be stripped from Oxford tower block

Housing associations and councils are now planning to remove HPL cladding following new Government guidance
5 days ago

HS2 forced to rebid £435m Curzon Street station

Poor interest from contractors forces risk transfer rethink
6 days ago

Mott MacDonald names new UK and Europe chief

Cathy Travers will be in charge of 7,500 staff generating £824m revenue
5 days ago

Galliford Try Infrastructure chief exits

Nick Salt leaves as construction chief Bill Hocking takes over infrastructure
5 days ago

Interserve appoints Alan Lovell as new chairman

Industry veteran pledges to help "continue delivering Interserve’s transformation"
5 days ago

Contractor services