Terrington nursery ordered to pay £100,000 over worker’s death

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd. Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd.

Friday, June 6, 2014
4:29 PM

A West Norfolk nursery was ordered to pay nearly £100,000 in fines and costs for failing to ensure the safety of an employee after a worker was electrocuted.

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Grzegorz Pieton, 26, had been driving a tractor, when its trailer made contact with the 11,000 volt overhead cables at Belmont Nursery, Terrington St Clement, near Kings Lynn

He had been moving soil at the firm which produces cut flowers and bulbs for companies that supply supermarket chains. The nursery is also the last commercial grower of tulips in the UK.

Mr Pieton, a Polish National who had a wife and child, died on July 15, 2010 in a peony field, off Long Road.

P S and J E Ward were found guilty of breaching health and safety regulations, by failing to protect a worker, following a two week trial at Norwich Crown Court but were cleared of a more serious charge of corporate manslaughter.

The company appeared at the crown court for sentence.

Judge Stephen Holt imposed a fine of £50,000 and ordered the company to pay prosecution costs of £47,937.

He accepted that the company was a family firm run by “thoroughly decent” people and had not put profits over safety.

“This was not a company dedicated to profit.”

He also accepted the directors of the company had to put some of their own savings into the company to keep it going and despite a large turnover had made just £50,000 in profit and was struggling . He gave the company three years to pay the fine.

Graham Trembarth, for the company, said the matter had been hanging over the company for four years.

He said directors Peter and Janet Ward had devoted the past 40 years to the business and said the case had put a great strain on them. He said Mr Ward planned to step down and hand over the daily running to the younger generation of his family.

He said it was still not clear why Mr Pieton was working in the field.

“There is no evidence to suggest he was directed to go there.”

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