Editor, UBM

October 13, 2015

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Jail for men found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence

Truro Crown Court has sentenced a farmer and his employee to four years in jail, over the death of a contractor who was electrocuted when his ladder touched an overhead power cable.

Roger Matthews and his employee Norman Treseder were found to be “grossly negligent” following the death of 33-year-old Jason Morgan, from Bristol, who died while working at Great Brynn Barton Farm near Roche, Cornwall in June 2011.

Mr Morgan was installing safety netting on a barn extension on a work site described as “a death trap” during the trial.

Judge Graham Cottle told Mr Matthews: “You knew the only safe way was to bury the overhead power line. Western Power Distribution told you what was necessary but you ignored it.

“You didn’t want the inconvenience of putting the work back. Your stance was hope that everything would be alright.

“The site was a potential death trap and remained so despite repeated warnings.”

The court heard the cost of burying the 11,000 volt power line would have been more than £15,000.

The sentences were as follows:

  • Roger Matthews, 48, the managing director of Matthews Plant Hire Ltd, from St Ervan, Wadebridge was jailed for four years after being found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence. He has been ordered to pay £10,000 costs.
  • Norman Treseder, 55, from Wendron, has been jailed for four years after being found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence.
  • Matthews Plant Hire Ltd and Philip Tucker, 57, a roofer from St Wenn, Bodmin, were found guilty of health and safety at work breaches. Mr Tucker was sentenced to nine months, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £10,000 costs.

Speaking to Mr Matthews, Judge Cottle concluded: “You failed in your duty of care to anyone who worked on the project.

“A life was needlessly lost that day.”

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