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Man who lost two younger brothers in Great Yarmouth building site tragedy gives evidence at their inquest

19:17 13 February 2014

Daniel Hazelton, pictured with his son Freddie, was one of four men killed on a building site in Great Yarmouth in January 2011.

Daniel Hazelton, pictured with his son Freddie, was one of four men killed on a building site in Great Yarmouth in January 2011.

Archant

A man who lost two brothers and two friends in a building site tragedy tried to give all the answers he could at their inquest.

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The four men were killed when a steel reinforcement cage collapsed around them at Claxton Engineering in Great Yarmouth on January 21, 2011.

Matt Hazelton, 35, lost his two younger brothers Dan, 30, and Tom, 26, as well as friends Adam Taylor, 28, and Peter Johnson, 42.

Peter Harris, of the fire service, said their hydraulic tools could not cut through the thickest steel bars to free them, and Claxton workers desperately tried to help using a forklift truck and mobilising a crane.

The men, of Stanton and Rickinghall, Suffolk, had all worked for family building firm Hazegood.

Matt Hazelton, a director of the firm, told today’s hearing - in its fourth day at Sprowston Manor, near Norwich - he had vowed to keep the firm trading until their inquest.

He said Hazegood’s reputation had been “tarnished” and struggled to get work, and directors will decide on its future after the inquest.

Coroner Jacqueline Lake gave Mr Hazelton the option not to answer questions that may incriminate him, but he said: “I’ve got nothing to hide.”

He said Hazegood became involved in the project - to build high pressure test bays - after a call from Dave Groucott, a director of Encompass Project Management.

He described Mr Groucott as the “most intelligent” person he had worked with in the construction industry “bar none”.

Mr Hazelton said his brother Tom studied designs of the steel cage, from Scott Wilson Group, “every single night” and had an “immense knowledge” of steelwork.

He had spoken to Mr Groucott the day the men died and was told “things were going well”.

Site manager Sean Freeman said Encompass had not appointed a construction design management (CDM) co-ordinator to inspect site safety, and some forms were not completed correctly.

Mr Groucott refused to answer a series of questions on CDM.

The jury is set to return a verdict on cause of death tomorrow.

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