Claxton Engineering fined £500k and Great Yarmouth company director spared jail after four workers crushed to death

From left, Peter Johnson and Tom Hazelton (Picture: Submitted)

From left, Peter Johnson and Tom Hazelton (Picture: Submitted) - Credit: Archant

A company director responsible for health and safety failings which led to four Suffolk men being crushed to death has been spared prison.

Adam Taylor, left, and Daniel Hazelton, right (Picture: Submitted)

Adam Taylor, left, and Daniel Hazelton, right (Picture: Submitted) - Credit: Archant

David Groucott, of Hinderclay Road, near Ricklinghall, near Diss, was sentenced to 7.5 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

The 44-year-old must also undertake 200 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay £7,500 towards prosecution costs.

MORE: Failures led to deaths of four Suffolk men at Claxton Engineering in Great Yarmouth, Old Bailey told

Groucott and his company Encompass Project Management, which stopped trading in 2012, did not have the competencies to undertake construction work on new test bays at Claxton Engineering Limited in Great Yarmouth.

However, Claxton Engineering appointed Encompass as its principal contractor in 2010.

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Encompass and Groucott subcontracted the groundwork of the project to Hazegood, for which the four men who died worked.

Daniel Hazleton, 30, his brother Thomas, 26, and Peter Johnson, 42, all from Stanton near Bury St Edmunds, were killed along with Adam Taylor, 28, when a large steel case they were working in collapsed on January 21, 2011.

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Claxton Engineering, Encompass and Groucott all previously pleaded guilty at Norwich Crown Court to health and safety charges.

Today Claxton Engineering was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100,000.

Encompass was given a nominal fine of £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £50,000.

My Justice Jeremy Baker told the court Groucott was currently discharging the company's debts.

When sentencing Groucott the judge praised the families of the men who were killed after he had read letters from them relating to Groucott who was a friend and workmate of those who died.

Mr Justice Baker described the contents of the letters 'as a tribute to their generosity and spirit'.

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