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INQUEST: FOUR DEATHS IN ONE INCIDENT

HSE prosecutions still possible regarding in Norfolk collapse

It has been reported (26 Nov) by the Eastern Daily Press (EDP) that a Coroner has said HSE prosecutions might still be initiated following the death of four men in Greart Yarmouth in January 2011. In April 2013 the EDP reported that Norfolk Police will not be proceeding with any manslaughter charges following the incident.

Daniel Hazelton, 30, Thomas Hazelton, 26, Peter Johnson, 41, and Adam Taylor, 28, died at the premises of Claxton Engineering when a steel structure collapsed. The four men were working in an excavation when they were crushed by the structure.

Regulator criticised for “dragging feet”

At a pre-inquest Coroner Jacqueline Lake told the hearing that HSE was still considering prosecutions over the incident. She said she was “eager for any inquest not to influence those prosecutions, with the potential for witnesses to incriminate themselves in evidence”. However, the inquest had already been delayed and a hearing may have to go ahead regardless.

HSE were reported to be criticised by solicitors at the hearing for dragging their feet. Solicitor Malcolm Savory acting Claxton Engineering said:

“It’s been two years and 10 months since the incident and you really wonder what on Earth more the HSE need to make up its mind”

Shauna Ritchie, on behalf of HSE, said the regulator was dealing with “voluminous” amounts of evidence and taking time over any decision was essential adding:

“We are not obliged to make any decisions at this point and we could sit back and wait for the outcome of the inquest.”

Two more pre-inquest hearings will be held on December 13 and 24 in order for an update to be given by HSE and a full inquest is expected in February 2014

Mrs Lake also told the hearing that HSE had decided not to bring prosecutions against several parties involved in the incident including Matt Hazelton and Neil Gooderham who founded the company Hazegood Construction which employed the four men.

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