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UPDATE – DIRECTOR AND EXCAVATOR OPERATOR JAILED

Excavation collapse dangers ignored by director and digger operator

The director of Conquest Homes, Andrew Winterton aged 52, has been convicted of gross negligence manslaughter following the death of a workman on a construction project in 2014.

The conviction follows a nine-week trial at Northampton Crown Court into the death of 33-year-old father-of-five Shane Wilkinson whilst he was employed as a groundworker at the Conquest Homes building site in Collyweston, Northants.

The court heard evidence of how Mr Wilkinson had been standing next to a deep trench that had been “incorrectly excavated” by excavator driver Mr Dean Wortley when a wall of the trench collapsed burying Mr Wilkinson beneath the collapsed material. Despite the efforts of fellow workers Mr Wilkinson was pronounced dead at the scene after his body was recovered.

Northamptonshire Police and HSE investigators found that the sides of the trench had not been properly or adequately secured and that Wortley and Winterton ignored basic safety measures. The Court convicted as follows:

  • Andrew Winterton – of Colyweston and site manager and director of Conquest Homes, was found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter.
  • Dean Wortley – of Market Deeping in Lincolnshire and who traded as Clearview Demolition, was found guilty of a failure as a self-employed person to discharge his duty to ensure the health and safety of persons not in his employment, contrary to section 33(1a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He was also found guilty of failing to take all practicable steps to prevent danger, contrary to Regulation 31 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007

UPDATE: Both defendants were sentenced on 30 June 2017.

A Winterton – was sentenced to four years in jail. He will spend two in custody and two on licence. He was also ordered to pay costs of £90,500.

D Wortley – was given a 12 month sentence and will spend six months in custody and six months on licence. He was ordered to pay £20,000 towards costs

Failed on most basic safety measures to prevent harm

Speaking after the verdict Detective Superintendent Steve Woliter of Northamptonshire Police, said:

“This was a tragic loss of a young life that could so easily have been avoided.  Winterton and Worley were both experienced in ground works and failed to show even the most basic safety measures to prevent harm to workers – such as Shane Wilkinson – on the Conquest Homes site.

Shane leaves behind five young children who are now being cared for by his parents. They were in court throughout the trial and have shown true dignity and strength despite listening to harrowing evidence.

This has been a very lengthy and complex investigation and I would like to thank the jurors for their dedication and attention to detail during this long trial.”

 

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