Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

February 7, 2017

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Four deny charges over lawyer’s death

Four people and three companies have denied a total of 13 charges relating to the death of Amanda Telfer, 43, who was killed when she was crushed by three window frames, as she walked past a building site in Hanover Square, Mayfair, London, on 30 August 2012.

The Old Bailey heard that Ms Telfer was walking past the site when the frames which weighed more than half a tonne, and were leaning against a wall, fell on her.

Bystanders and paramedics tried to resuscitate her, but MsTelfer, from Bermondsey, was pronounced dead at the scene.

There were a series of obvious and, in many cases, straightforward steps that could have been taken to avoid that risk – Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC

The court heard that the frames had been delivered a day earlier but builders were not ready to install them, leading to them being left “unprotected and unrestrained”, The BBC reported.

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said it was “obvious to anyone” that the heavy frames, which together weighed 1,444lb (655kg), carried a “clear and serious risk of death”, including to those walking past.

Mr Atkinson told the court: “There were a series of obvious and, in many cases, straightforward steps that could have been taken to avoid that risk, ranging from cancellation, delay, refusal of delivery on the one hand, to the storage, the use of straps and barriers.

“None were taken by any of the defendants and Amanda Telfer died as a result.”


The jury at the Old Bailey was told how another member of the public had almost been hit in a “near-miss” at the site just days before the fatal accident.

Work was “routinely carried out” on the pavement and equipment was stored there overnight, but there was no external barrier to separate the working area from the public, Mr Atkinson said.

“In the days before the accident, a plywood hoarding had fallen from one of the apertures on the building, almost hitting a member of the public as he made his way home.”

Mr Atkinson said the alleged incident raised questions over health and safety at the site.


The denied charges, brought following an investigation into the incident by the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Major Crime Command and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), are:

  • Damian Lakin-Hall, 50, from Cobham, Surrey, Claire Gordon, 36, from Leeds, and 64-year-old Kelvin Adsett – also known as Kelvin Schultz – from, Slough, Berkshire, deny manslaughter and health and safety breaches.
  • Steven Rogers, 62, from Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, pleaded not guilty to a single charge of failure to take reasonable care for safety while at work as an employee of Westgreen Construction.
  • IS Europe of Slough, Westgreen Construction, of Richmond in Surrey, and Drawn Metal of Leeds, also deny health and safety charges.

The trial continues.

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Keith Jones
Keith Jones
7 years ago

Hi Lauren.

Can you explain to me why this has taken 4 1/2 years to get to this stage.


Peter T
Peter T
7 years ago
Reply to  Keith Jones

Hi Keith, 3 years is fairly usual for a prosecution, never mind one requiring simultaneous prosecution of 3 individuals and 3 companies. It also depends on the “cooperation” of witnesses, not just those voluntarily giving evidence but also employees being “compelled” to give evidence against their employer(s) (Section 20 of HASAWA) as well as Police And Criminal Evidence (PACE) interviews that legal entities (usually the “employer”) suspected of having committed a crime are “invited” to attend (unlike Police PACE interviews where thanks to powers of arrest & detention are compulsory). Additionally this is presumably the entry of a plea in… Read more »

paul scott
paul scott
7 years ago

It beggars believe that such stupid work practices could be happening in this day and age, I hope the book is thrown at this lot

Ray Rapp
Ray Rapp
7 years ago

I am surprised all the defendants have pleaded not guilty…I would not be surprised on their websites it states how seriously they take health and safety, blah, blah.

Peter T
Peter T
7 years ago
Reply to  Ray Rapp

defendants have the right to change their plea right up until the last opportunity to do so. Some defendants will seek to find an advantage by indicating a not guilty plea and stacking their legal team with heavyweight barristers etc. in a “game of brinksmanship” hoping CPS will panic at the amount of money being gambled on achieving a successful verdict and withdraw all/some of the charges (depending on the strength of evidence and the likelihood of a conviction). If the prosecution (CPS) respond by stacking their team with similar (expensive) barristers and appear determined to proceed, only then will… Read more »

Peter T
Peter T
7 years ago
Reply to  Peter T

The “flipside” to switching the plea from previous “intention to plea” statements is to continue to indicate a guilty plea in the hopes that the prosecution will not have their case ready to contest at the particular stage in the process and then change the plea and insist on hearing the case now (rather than waste further time and cost with another adjournment). This is especially attractive if the Govt. has sought to save some expense by having an inexperienced (cheaper) solicitor attend a “routine” plea hearing (often at magistrates referral to Crown Court, although there are less “savings” to… Read more »