Falling fireplace kills four-year-old in new home

Grant Prior 11 years ago
Share

A stonemason has been fined after part of a poorly-installed fireplace toppled onto and killed a four-year-old boy at his new Northamptonshire home.

Kristian Childs, trading as KD Childs Stonework of Luton, had been sub-contracted to install stone fireplaces in new homes, including one in Coulthard Close, Towcester, which was subsequently bought by David and Gail Green.

They moved into the property with their son Matthew and older daughter Rachel in June 2003.

On 15 October 2005 the 47kg mantel from the fireplace came away from the wall without warning and fell on Matthew. He was airlifted to hospital but died of his injuries shortly afterwards.

An HSE investigation found that Childs had secured the mantel with small patches of mortar rather than mechanical fixings.

Northampton Crown Court heard that Childs was aware of the need to ensure fireplaces were properly secured after two others he had fitted at other properties were found to be insecure by the home owners.

Childs of Sundon Park, Luton, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £7,500 with £2,500 costs.

After the hearing Alan Craddock, Head of Operations for the HSE’s Midlands construction division said: “This was a tragic incident that devastated a young family, made so much worse by the fact it could have been so easily prevented.

“Every stone used in a fireplace must have a mechanical fixing, such as a steel bracket and screws, to hold them together and against the wall.

“A few small patches of mortar are not acceptable because it cannot guarantee a secure bond.

“Mr Childs was well aware of the risks of falling fireplaces yet failed to take the correct steps to ensure the fireplace he fitted at Coulthard Close was safe, with appalling consequences.”

Matthew’s mother, Gail Green, said: “Losing Matthew was devastating. We miss him every day and will never truly recover from the events of that day.

“We urge anyone involved with the installation of fireplaces to learn from what happened to our precious son and take steps to ensure that they take the time and trouble to fit them properly.

“If they don’t then lives will continue to be put at risk and Matthew’s death will have been in vain.”

 

 

 

Latest news

Employee-owned Neilcott staff share £250,000 payout

Employee-owned building contractor sales jump 38% to £139m
6 hours ago

Geoffrey Osborne supply chain hit for £26m

More than 500 suppliers and subcontractors left holding unpaid bills
3 days ago

Race for £800m South West Wales framework

Up to 16 firms face fight to renew spots on regional contractors framework
13 hours ago

SME contractors agree 4% pay rise for site workers

Workers will also get an extra day of holiday
3 days ago

South East expansion paying off for Meldrum Group

Turnover up to £55m as North East based contractor expands national coverage
5 hours ago

Wates boosts paternity leave to 12 weeks

Latest leave benefits apply from first day of working for contractor
6 hours ago

Taylor Wimpey chief honoured with CBE

Jennie Daly recognised in King's Birthday honours
2 days ago

Labour to mothball £320m A27 job to fix potholes

Manifesto confirms Arundel Bypass canned as "poor value for money"
3 days ago

Lendlease’s £1.9bn Smithfield Birmingham scheme approved

Initial work to start later this year despite questions over Lendlease's degree of involvement
3 days ago

Crest Nicholson rejects £650m Bellway bid

Second Bellway approach rebuffed
4 days ago

Hill submits £800m East London estate rebuild plan

Over 1,900 homes to be built in five phase at Teviot Estate in Poplar
4 days ago

Plan approved for 8,500-seat Edinburgh indoor arena

Construction expected to start next year once a contractor is appointed
3 days ago

Statom starts on £25m Bristol Airport precast car park

Major work package on transport upgrade being overseen by Griffiths Farrans JV
4 days ago

Build problems plunge Crest Nicholson to a £31m loss

House builder unearths more defects on completed sites
4 days ago

Rebooted Amey lifts contract win rate to 1 in 3 bids

Amey chief says firm exceeded expectations in first year under new owners
4 days ago

BAM Nuttall fined £2.3m after worker drowned

Court hears how series of safety failures led to tragedy
5 days ago

OCU buys Scottish civils contractor RJ McLeod

Deal takes multi-utility infrastructure specialist revenue to over £800m
5 days ago

£220m plan to restore secret wartime tunnels approved

Tunnels under High Holborn to become cultural exhibition space
5 days ago

Galliford Try wins £69m Scottish school job

Deal sealed on Paisley Grammar School project in Renfrewshire
4 days ago

Balfour wins design for £690m Skye transmission job

Main work contract for 137km power line to be awarded later this year
5 days ago

Student and resi developer Fortis goes under

Cheshire based developer follows construction arm into liquidation
5 days ago

Construction output falls for third month running

Heavy rain and strong winds blamed for sharp fall in activity in April
5 days ago

Plan in for Leeds 27-storey block of flats

390 flats planned at former Morgan Sindall office site
5 days ago

Firms readied for £1.5bn Parliament estate upkeep deal

Invitation to tender due to go out next month
6 days ago

Amey switches kit supplier

Deal with HSS was worth £24.5m a year to rental specialist
5 days ago

Track workers scatter to avoid runaway rail trolley

Track trolley careers 1km towards work site
5 days ago

Direct delivery model pays off as Murphy profit soars to £67m

Group operating margin jumps from 3% to 5% in record year
6 days ago

Ex-Galliard boss to lead Battersea next building phase

Don O’Sullivan joins as plans advance to start phase 3C of power station redevelopment
6 days ago

£100m Digbeth 33-storey flats job out to bid

483 flats will be delivered for Clarion housing association
6 days ago

Van Elle fined £233,000 after piling rig kills driver

Court hears how tragedy was caused by poorly maintained plant
6 days ago

Contractor services