Evidence on building design and construction reopens police investigation
The Yorkshire Post reports that a coroner has adjourned an inquest into the death of a pedestrian who died after a lorry overturned in strong winds. The adjournment is to enable the Police and CPS to consider if any criminal offence has been committed arising from construction of Leeds’s tallest building.
Mr Edward Slaney, 35, from West Yorkshire, died after being crushed by the vehicle in the “notoriously windy area” near the Bridgewater Place building in Leeds on 10th March 2011. The inquest heard the lorry “floated through the air like a hot air balloon” in gale-force winds.
Corporate manslughter offences investigated
The Coroner was told that the accident spot had become known for strong winds and that wind speeds of between 67mph and 79mph were recorded. After hearing evidence about the design and construction of the building, Coroner Melanie Williamson, said:
“I’m concerned having heard all the evidence there may be an offence of corporate manslaughter by one or more of the organisations. I’m obliged to adjourn this inquest pending further inquiries by the Crown Prosecution Service.”
The court heard evidence that people had been complaining to Leeds City Council of a “wind-tunnel effect” at Bridgewater Place since 2008. Following a micro-climate report during planning in 2001 the building was moved 2m in its design. A further wind assessment was carried out in 2008, after the building was completed.