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MAJOR HOMES FIRM PLEASED PROSECUTION HALTED

‘Inconsistencies’ force HSE to stop proceedings over death of child

It has been reported by the BBC that HSE has discontinued the prosecution of Persimmon Homes in respect of the death of 4 year-old Matthew Green in 2005.  The major UK homes builder was charged after Matthew was crushed by a 50kg “fireplace” which collapsed at his Northamptonshire home.

Matthew was with his father when Mr Green heard a “loud crash” and found his son under the stone mantel. An inquest in 2008 heard there was “insufficient” mortar and no extra screws or metal dowels as recommended by experts. A fireplace had previously fallen at another Persimmon site.

Kristian Childs, whose company KD Childs of Northampton fitted the fireplace, pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in June. However, Matthew’s parents said they were “at a loss to understand” and felt “justice has not been achieved”.

An HSE spokesperson told the BBC :

“It emerged there were inconsistencies in the way HSE had treated Persimmon Homes compared to other companies who had had fireplaces installed by KD Childs. The decision was therefore taken to withdraw the charges against Persimmon Homes.”

A statement from the Green family said:

“While we are grateful to HSE for pursuing the responsible parties, we do feel that had this been investigated in a different way then the charges against Persimmon Homes would not have been dropped. We will never get over the needless and preventable death of our son and do not feel that justice has in any way been achieved by this outcome.”

Persimmon Homes told the BBC its thoughts were with Matthew’s family adding:

“We have co-operated fully with the courts and enforcing authorities from the beginning of this matter and are pleased that it has now been brought to a close.”

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