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BUILDER FACES TWO YEAR JAIL SENTENCE OVER CHILD DEATH

Fall of wall on toddler amounted to gross negligence manslaughter guilt

A builder has been sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of gross negligence manslaughter in the case of a three-year-old girl who died when a wall collapsed on top of her.

George Collier was found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter on 5th October 2012 at Mold Crown Court. His company, Parcol Developments Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at an earlier hearing.

Collier was undertaking construction work outside a house in Prestatyn on 26 July 2008 when three-year-old Meg Burgess and her mother were walking on the adjacent public footpath. North Wales Police and HSE investigators found that the recently built wall had been backfilled by Collier shortly before it collapsed.

The wall was acting as a retaining wall but had not been designed or constructed for this purpose and fell under the weight of the earth stacked up against it.

Members of the public must be kept away from construction work

George Collier aged 49 of Kinmel Bay pleaded not guilty to charges of gross negligence manslaughter. His company, Parcol Developments pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at the same time. No additional penalty was imposed on company.

Rosemary Ainslie, lawyer for the CPS Special Crime division said:

“This was a tragic case, in which a young girl lost her life. “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.”

HSE Inspector Debbie John said:

“This was an entirely preventable incident that resulted in the tragic death of an innocent three-year-old girl. There were basic failings in the way that George Collier and Parcol Developments Ltd. planned and managed the construction of the wall, leading to its collapse.

On the day of the incident George Collier and Parcol Developments Ltd backfilled the wall despite knowing that retaining walls should be designed by a specialist structural engineer. Neither had engaged a structural engineer to design a safe retaining wall.

This case is an important reminder to those working in construction to make sure that design work is done by competent people and building is done to the appropriate standard. It also highlights the importance of ensuring that members of the public are kept away from construction work.”

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One Response to “BUILDER FACES TWO YEAR JAIL SENTENCE OVER CHILD DEATH”

  1. MOTHER TELLS OF MOMENTS BEFORE FATAL WALL COLLAPSE | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] Builder George Collier, of Kinmel Bay, Conwy, has been jailed for two years after being convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence. […]