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CLIENT AND CONTRACTOR WORKMEN CLEARED

Manslaughter trial halted and workmen found not guilty

Three men have been cleared of manslaughter charges after a four-week trial was halted at Cardiff crown court. Craig Rees aged 26 of Rhondda died in May 2006 after a 42-inch wide water main burst at a water pumping station. Gary Sanford, Colin Hughes and Jeffrey Reed all denied gross negligence manslaughter.

Mr Rees was employed by civil engineers David Lewis Construction Ltd who were contracted to replace water meters at the site. Mr Hughes and Mr Sanford were employed by United Utilities and Mr Reed was a site agent for David Lewis Construction Ltd.

Mr Rees died whilst trying to repair leaks on a water meter when a joint burst open. The crown prosecutor informed the court that after reviewing the case the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) wished to offer no further evidence. Justice Pitchford QC directed jury members to record not guilty verdicts for all three men.

A CPS spokesman said after the hearing: “We have an ongoing duty to review the evidence in each case to ensure that the tests set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors continue to be satisfied. In this case, as a result of evidence given by a prosecution expert witness, it became apparent that there was a conflict of evidence”

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