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June 20, 2014

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Mine manager cleared of manslaughter

The Gleision mine manager has been cleared of manslaughter after a three-month trial at Swansea crown court.
 
Four miners died at the Gleision mine in Swansea, south Wales, when 650,000 gallons of water flooded the tunnels.
 
Mine manager Malcolm Fyfield, 58, was also working in the cramped and old-fashioned mine at the time, but managed to crawl free.
 
He was accused of four charges of manslaughter. The company that owned the mine, MNS Mining, was charged with corporate manslaughter.
 
Following the three-month trial, a jury at Swansea crown court took just two hours to find Fyfield and the company not guilty of all charges.
 
The prosecution claimed that when Fyfield ordered a coal face to be blasted he had not adequately checked if there was a body of water in the old mine workings behind it.
 
Fyfield insisted he had done safety inspections of the area, including one on the day before the tragedy.
 
Miners Philip Hill, 44, Charles Breslin, 62, David Powell, 50, and Garry Jenkins, 49, died in the tragedy in September 2011.
 
Fyfield spent a week in intensive care in hospital after the tragedy and later suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He could hardly stand as the verdicts were returned. He broke down in tears and hugged his wife as he was cleared.
 
The MNS directors Maria Nora Seage and her brother Gerald Ward also both wept on hearing the company had been cleared.

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