Scaffolder killed in church collapse

Grant Prior 1 year ago

Four men have received suspended prison sentences following the collapse of the former Citadel Church in Splott, Cardiff which killed a scaffolder.

Collapsed wall of the church
Collapsed wall of the church

And four firms, of which three of the men were directors, received combined fines of more than £340,000.

Jeffrey Joseph Plevey, 55, from Radyr, died when the derelict building fell down as he worked on it in July 2017.

Following a recovery operation by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the All Wales Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team, Plevey’s body was recovered from the rubble and he died at the scene.

A joint investigation, led by the Major Crime Team of South Wales Police, alongside the HSE was carried out resulting in an 11-week trial held at a court in Swansea Civic Centre.

On December 15, 2021 Keith Young and Stewart Swain were both convicted of criminal health and safety offences.

A jury found Young guilty of failing to take necessary steps to ensure a structure does not collapse when carrying out construction work contrary to Construction (Design and Management) Regulations and the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Swain and his company, Swain Scaffolding Ltd, were also found guilty of breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Young and Swain were cleared of gross negligence manslaughter charges.

Two other men, Phil Thomas, from South Wales Safety Consultancy Ltd, and Richard Dean, from NJP Consultant Engineers Ltd, and a fourth company Strongs Partnership pleaded guilty to health and safety offences prior to the trial.

This week all four men returned to Cardiff Crown Court and were sentenced as follows:

  • Keith Young, 74, of Llandough, Vale of Glamorgan: 45-week sentence suspended for 18 months. He must pay costs of £66,000.
  • Stewart Swain, 54, of Rhiwbina, Cardiff: 39-week sentence suspended for 15 months. He must pay costs of £25,000.
  • Philip Thomas, 57, of Thornhill, Cardiff: 36-week sentence suspended for 15 months. He must pay costs of £20,000.
  • Richard Dean, 60, of Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, 35-week sentence suspended for 15 months. He must pay costs of £20,000.

Swain Scaffolding Ltd was fined £120,000 with costs of £25,000, South Wales Safety Consultancy Ltd was fined £97,500 with £17,500 costs, NJP Consultant Engineers Ltd was fined £93,300 with £6,700 in costs and Strongs Partnership Ltd was fined £33,500 with £17,500 in costs.

Detective Inspector Stuart Wales, from the South Wales Police Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “Jeff Plevey was an experienced scaffolder and a popular hard-working man who was owed a duty of care when he went into work that day.

“Our thoughts are with Jeff’s family and friends who have waited four and a half years to see justice done following his untimely and avoidable death on July 18 2017.

“His family have shown incredible patience, support and dignity throughout what has been a lengthy, challenging and complex investigation.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the witnesses who patiently supported this investigation, particularly colleagues who were working alongside Jeff on the day he died.

“They have also waited a long time to see justice done and were themselves affected by those avoidable events in Splott.”

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Liam Osborne said: “Jeff Plevey died because people were put to work on a scaffold against a towering stone wall that managers, safety professionals and contractors knew, or could see, was obviously unstable before work started. 

“The demolition and scaffolding were badly planned and dangerously carried out from the very beginning, and throughout the job. Instead of the building being made safer as demolition progressed, it became even more unstable.  Those people who made bad decisions, gave poor advice, or failed to act in the face of extreme and obvious risk have now been held accountable.”

He added: “I’d like to pay tribute to Mr Plevey’s family, friends and colleagues for their help and understanding throughout this long and exceptionally detailed investigation.

“I sincerely hope that the scaffolding, demolition and consultancy industries in Wales and beyond take time to learn from this terrible tragedy. Pre-work planning, choosing remote methods of demolition, sharing critical information between parties and putting in a system of managed checks would have prevented this incident.”

Latest news

Enabling works start on £200m Cambridge station

Murphy starts site preparation ahead of main contractor award next month
20 hours ago

Industry aims to be almost diesel-free by 2035

Big players agree first steps to eliminate diesel from most sites
3 hours ago

Weston Homes plans £50m East London scheme

Land deal for 147 homes at Town Quay Wharf in Barking
3 hours ago

Lee Marley Brickwork hires Countryside regional FD

Matt Sheehan joins from house builder's partnerships arm
3 hours ago

Demolition deal awarded on Chancery Lane refurb

General Demolition Ltd lands demolition and enabling works package
3 hours ago

Contractors no longer lagging on digital transformation

Construction shrugs-off image as late adopter of technology
3 hours ago

Work stops on MAC education job

MAC-Interiors seeks protection from creditors as subbies walk away from Birmingham site
1 day ago

HS2 labour supply firm posts loss despite revenue jump

Hercules Site Services confident about future prospects despite HS2 slow down
1 day ago

Graham to lead UPP push for next generation green campuses

Student campus developer strikes deal with Architype to design and retrofit next generation net zero student halls
1 day ago

NG Bailey appoints Sellafield chief as NED

Martin Chown joins M&E contractor main board
1 day ago

EN:Procure wants firms for £700m new-build homes deal

Regional social housing consortium Efficiency North to renew house building partners
1 day ago

£470m tunnel plan for Scotland’s landslip-prone A83

Scottish Government plans 1-mile long debris flow shelter to protect vehicles from falling rocks
2 days ago

Developer dumps Henry Construction from London tower job

Growing list of subcontractors and suppliers complain they have not been paid
4 days ago

HS2 construction shake-up sees main contractor changes

Align to take over responsibility for parts of the route previously under the control of EKFB
4 days ago

Claritas Group heading for liquidation

CEO of £50m turnover contractor confirms news and thanks staff and suppliers
4 days ago

Go-ahead for clutch of major jobs to reboot Manchester

Two biggest high rise projects at Bridge Street and Medlock Street to cost £575m to build
4 days ago

Plan for major NHS estate green upgrade framework

NHS Shared Business Services starts early consultation with firms on decarbonisation retrofit plan
4 days ago

Willmott Dixon signs £34m revamp of DfE headquarters

Grade II Sanctuary Buildings in Victoria will be modernised and made energy efficient
4 days ago

£500m southern highways framework up for renewal

Ten firms face fight to retain places on major councils roads framework
5 days ago

Engineering losses halve Briggs & Forrester profit

Main engineering services arm suffers £1.6m loss
5 days ago

Plans in for University of East London campus expansion

Work to start in early 2024 on 280,000 sq ft Stratford teaching and student rooms scheme
5 days ago

CITB told to improve by Ofsted inspectors

Number of in-house apprentices drops as training body changes business model
5 days ago

IHP wins £100m Derbyshire mental health projects

Vinci/McAlpine JV will build two 54-bed Adult Acute Care units
5 days ago

Align hits key milestone on HS2 Colne Valley viaduct

Engineers rise to the challenge to complete first V-piers in lakes
5 days ago

£9.3bn race starts for National Grid construction partners

Plan for Great Grid Upgrade Partnership to be set out at bidders day in early June
6 days ago

Plan approved to redevelop major Glasgow shopping mall

Outline plan backed for demolition of St Enoch centre for over 900 homes, shops and leisure space
6 days ago

Banned demolition boss wins appeal to remain a director

Paul Cluskey wins Court appeal to remain director of Cantillon but steps down as MD
7 days ago

B&K confirms £140m Leeds build to rent project

Work to start on Whitehall Riverside twin blocks for client Glenbrook
7 days ago

McLaren Property to revamp Liverpool roller skating site

242-bed student scheme unveiled for sensitive site
6 days ago

Wates names Midlands construction chief

Matt Johnson promoted after just 10 months at family-owned builder
7 days ago

Contractor services