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April 3, 2014

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Electrician fined £1,000 after young mother dies in her home


A 22—year-old mother died after being electrocuted whilst attempting to deal with her leaking boiler, Wolverhampton Crown Court has heard. 
Emma Shaw was killed when a “catastrophic” shock passed through her body at her Jefferson Place flat in West Bromwich. The court heard a screw had pierced an electrical cable and a metal frame in a wall had become charged. When water leaked from the boiler it too became charged and when Miss Shaw touched the stopcock to turn off the supply she became earthed and was electrocuted. 
52-year-old Neil Hoult, a qualified supervisor on the site when the flats were built in 2006, signed off certificates that they were safe and posed no danger. He was found guilty by a jury after he denied failing to discharge his duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. 
He was fined £1,000 to be paid within 12 months and would have to serve 30 days imprisonment in default. 
Judge Michael Dudley said Hoult was responsible for a “grave breach of duty” but added: “I accept there are a number of other individuals who are as culpable as you.” 
The judge said Hoult and others had failed to detect the fault that lead to the tragedy and, because he had simply perused the paperwork, a “dangerous situation” was allowed to go on for some considerable time. He added that the fine would never be able to compensate the family who had lost a “loved one.” 
Electrician Christopher Tomkins, aged 52, of Rowley Village, Rowley Regis, also denied failing to discharge his duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act and was cleared by the jury on a 10-2 verdict. 
Miss Shaw’s mother, Dianne Potter, said: “I am so very disappointed. That is a very small price to pay for a death. It has been over six years since I lost Emma and I haven’t really been able to grieve. But now at last I have closure.” 
She said Emma, who lived with her partner Andrew Cross and their son, was a wonderful daughter concluding: “It just does not seem right to fine someone only £1,000 for such a terrible thing.”


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10 years ago

In cases like these the punishment most definite does not fit the crime, they should make examples of situations where this could have been prevented! and the little girl may still be here today

10 years ago

Why was the fine not much greater?

10 years ago

If this is justice, no wonder criminals continue to commit crimes. The judge as commited an even bigger crime. Fine him as well.