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THREE YEARS IN JAIL FOR EXPLOITATIVE LANDLORD

Workman died at home in bed after workplace injury ‘covered up’

Merseyside landlord, Anthony Minehan, has been convicted of gross negligence manslaughter after admitting responsibility for the death of a jobless ex-serviceman. He has been jailed for three years and four months.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Steven Weedon, aged 33, fell to his death from dangerous scaffolding erected at the home of Anthony Minehan in Southport. Minehan employed Mr Weedon to work on the property on a ‘cash-in-hand’ basis.

Mr Weedon suffered from epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder following service in Iraq and should not have been working at height. In addition the scaffolding was dangerous and was nor erected properly.

The scaffolding was erected by Abacus Scaffolding North West Ltd for the purposes of installing cavity wall insulation. Minehan engaged Weedon and two housemates to do some painting and other small jobs to the outside of the building, whilst the scaffolding was erected.

Injured workman found dead in morning

The court heard that a neighbour saw Mr Weedon fall from the scaffolding on 26 March 2014. His workmates wanted to call an ambulance but Mr Minehan did not want to alert the emergency services. There was blood on the floor next to Mr Weedon’s body and it was clear he was seriously injured. Mr Weedon was taken home but he was found dead the following morning.

Minehan told one of the workmen that he should not to tell the police that Mr Weedon had been on the scaffolding whilst undertaking work for him and threatened he “would lose everything”.

Perverting the course of justice

Minehan pleaded guilty to gross negligence manslaughter and attempting to perverting the course of justice. He was sentenced to three years and four months in prison and ordered to pay £7,000 towards the cost of the prosecution.

Abacus Scaffolding North West Ltd and company director Rickie Lake were sentenced for health and safety contraventions. The company was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3000. Mr Lake was ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid community work, ordered to pay £2000 in costs and disqualified from holding a company directorship for 2 years.

Exploited vulnerable for financial ends

Helen Morris, Senior Crown Prosecutor said:

“Minehan exploited Steven Weedon’s unemployed status and vulnerability for his own financial ends. In full knowledge of Steven Weedon’s ill health, he employed him to work at height on dangerous scaffolding, selfishly exposing him to risk of falling and death, all for £30 per day “cash in hand”. He singularly failed to take any measures to protect Steven Weedon, already suffering serious ill health after leaving the army.

Once the inevitable happened and Steven fell, he tried to protect his own position by asking witnesses to the accident to lie to police about his employment of Steven Weedon.”

HSE Inspector Christopher Smith said:

“Steven tragically lost his life because his employer failed to make sure basic safety measures were in place to protect workers, including the use of an incorrectly built scaffold.

The risk of people falling from height in construction is a well-known hazard. However, this site didn’t even come close to what was needed to protect the workers. Mr Minehan employed a vulnerable individual who should not have been put at risk in this way.

 

 

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