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STRUCTURAL ENGINEER FACES MANSLAUGHTER CHARGE

Alleged “permission to dig” triggered fatal wall collapse

Gaon Hart, a Senior Crown Advocate in the Special Crime Division for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said:

“The CPS carefully reviewed all of the evidence gathered by Suffolk Police during their investigation into the tragic deaths of Matthew Skeet, 19, and Kevin Ruffles, 57, on 21 October 2010.

Matthew and Kevin died whilst working on a building site at ‘The Old Maltings’ in Worlingworth, Suffolk, when a wall collapsed on top of them.

It was concluded that there is sufficient evidence to charge Barry Potts, a Structural Engineer who was advising Matthew and Kevin on their work, with gross negligence manslaughter under the common law and with a health and safety offence.

It is alleged that Mr Potts gave Matthew Skeet and Kevin Ruffles permission to dig a trench under part of the wall, which weakened the foundations and led the wall to collapse.

The CPS has also concluded that there is sufficient evidence to charge Elliston Steady & Hawes (Building) Limited, the company who owned the site, ‘The Old Maltings’ in Worlingworth, Suffolk, with Health and Safety offences.

This decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. I extend my sincere sympathies to the families of Mr Skeet and Mr Ruffles.”

Mr Potts and Elliston Steady & Hawes Limited have been summonsed to appear before Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on 5 July 2013.

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