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Three year jail sentence for gross negligence manslaughter
29 May 2013
A company boss has been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for gross negligence manslaughter following the death of a worker at Swan Hunter shipyard in Wallsend, Newcastle.
Following a four week trial into Kenneth Joyce's death, Allan Turnbull was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence and handed the prison sentence, while a Tyneside firm and one of its directors were also fined for their safety failings.
On 2 December 2008, Kenneth Joyce, 53, of Lanchester, Co. Durham, was working for Allan Turnbull at the site. A jury at Newcastle Crown Court heard how Mr Joyce was working from one cherry picker while two colleagues were working from another cherry picker and a crane. They were dismantling a building and were using a crane to lower the steel beams to the ground.
While removing a beam brace connecting two plate girders, one of the plate girders struck the basket of the cherry picker in which Mr Joyce was standing, knocking the equipment over.
Mr Joyce fell to the ground below and suffered serious head injuries. He was pronounced dead soon after.
The jury was told that North Eastern Maritime Offshore Cluster Ltd (NEMOC), which supplied the crane and crane driver, and its director, Christopher William Taylor, failed to ensure the safety of its employees and sub-contracted workers by neglecting to check that Mr Turnbull had the necessary competence to carry out the work.
A joint investigation by Northumbria Police and the HSE also found that Allan Turnbull had failed to plan the work adequately after identifying a lack of suitable and sufficient lifting plans to ensure a safe system of work was in place for the dismantling of the structural steelwork.
Prosecutors stated that Mr Joyce's death could have been avoided if a safe system of work had been established and followed.
In addition to the prison sentence given to Allan Turnbull, Christopher Taylor, one of two directors of North Eastern Maritime Offshore Cluster Ltd (NEMOC), was convicted of one count of consenting to, or conniving at, the failure to discharge a duty under section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and one count of consenting to, or conniving at, the failure to discharge a duty under section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Taylor was fined £30,000 in total and ordered to pay £50,000 in costs.
NEMOC was found guilty of failing to discharge a duty under section 2(1) and section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and because the company is now in liquidation, it was fined £1 for each of these offences.
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