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Company director did not realise machine that killed man was missing safety guards

PUBLISHED: 11:53 15 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:53 15 March 2019

Robert Baldwin, Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Archant

Robert Baldwin, Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Archant

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

A man accused of the manslaughter of a worker who died after becoming trapped in machinery said it had not registered with him there should have been safety guards on the equipment.

James Criddle, who died in an industrial incident in Besthorpe. Picture courtesy of Kevin Copplestone.James Criddle, who died in an industrial incident in Besthorpe. Picture courtesy of Kevin Copplestone.

James Criddle, 29, from Watton, was working at Baldwin Skip Hire in Besthorpe on May 15, 2017 when he was killed while using waste-screening machinery which had only just been bought for £18,000 on eBay.

Norwich Crown Court has heard the machine was not fitted with a safety guard.

Robert Baldwin, 47, of Silver Street, Besthorpe, has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Criddle by gross negligence and a charge involving neglect in failing to discharge a duty.

Giving evidence on Friday (March 15) Baldwin said he had gone to see the machine in Southampton before purchasing it in 2017.

Mathew Gowan, defending, asked Baldwin if he had concerns about it not having safety guards.

He said: “I saw it on site but didn’t register it as anything wrong”.

Baldwin said he had seen holes in the machine but had been told that they allowed access to parts.

He said: “It didn’t register that there should’ve been guards on there to me.”

Baldwin was asked whether he noticed anything wrong with it when it was back in Norfolk.

He said: “I didn’t see anything which I thought was out of order.”

He was asked about a sticker on the machine which stated not to use without guards.

Baldwin said he had seen it but “didn’t think there was any guards missing” so it did not register with him as being an issue.

The court has heard the prosecution assert that, as managing director of the company, Baldwin failed in his duty of care towards Mr Criddle and was “grossly” negligent.

The jury has been told Baldwin Skip Hire has already pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety duties to an employee.

The trial continues.


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