Builder jailed after wall-collapse death trial
A builder charged with the manslaughter of a three-year-old child, who was fatally crushed when a wall collapsed, has been imprisoned for two years.
Meg Burgess was killed when a wall designed by George Collier and constructed by his company, Parcol Developments Ltd, collapsed on to a public footpath in the Welsh coastal resort of Prestatyn, where she was walking with her mother, on 26 July 2008. The wall failed after pressure from infill, the court heard.
The three-week trial of Mr Collier, concluded earlier today (5 October) after a jury at Mold Crown Court found him guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence. Parcol Developments, based in Conwy, previously pleaded guilty on 7 December 2011 to a breach of section 3(1) of the HSWA 1974. No additional fine or costs were awarded against the company because it has ceased trading and has no funds.
Rosemary Ainslie, lawyer for the CPS Special Crime division, said: “Mr Collier was responsible for the design and construction of the wall but did not make sure it was built to safe standards; nor did he prevent members of the public from walking past it, with terrible consequences.
“The jury has found Mr Collier guilty of gross-negligence manslaughter and his conviction should act not only as a reminder of the dangers of sub-standard building work but also of the consequences for those who carry it out.
“I extend my deepest sympathies to the family of young Meg Burgess.”
Given Mr Collier’s direct role in the incident, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided in August last year that he should be charged with gross-negligence manslaughter.
A spokesperson for the CPS told SHP at the time that “there would be nothing to gain” from prosecuting a now defunct small company for corporate manslaughter when the person “directly responsible” is facing a charge of gross-negligence manslaughter.
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