Police name builders killed by falling wall

Police have named two builders who were killed by a falling wall at a barn conversion construction site.

An investigation has begun into the deaths of the two builders killed by a falling barn wall in north Suffolk.

The victims, who have been named as 57-year-old Kevin Ruffles, of Hollesley, and Matthew Skeet, 19, of Melton, near Woodbridge, were pronounced dead at the scene of a barn conversion project at Worlingworth, near Eye, on Thursday evening.

The pair, both from the Woodbridge area, had been at the site in Shop Street when an end gable collapsed and fell to the ground, crushing them.

Police spent much of yesterday working at the cordoned-off scene, along with health and safety experts.

The former maltings barn is being converted into three houses, and the development is being carried out by groundworks firm Elliston Steady and Hawes, based at Great Blakenham. It declined to comment last night.

Austin Holmes, of fellow groundworks firm Holmes (Suffolk), said he had known Mr Ruffles, who was in his 50s, for many years.

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'He was a lovely bloke and a very experienced guy. He's been trading for well over 30 years, but he was still hands-on,' he added.

'I don't know what happened or what went wrong: obviously we haven't got any knowledge on that.

'He'd been doing it all his life, more than 30 years. He's always been in the business.'

Mr Ruffles, a former pub landlord, leaves a wife and three children.

Emergency services were called to the barn at about 5pm on Thursday, but both men were pronounced dead at the scene. A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive confirmed that officers were assisting the police with the investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Det Insp Andy Smith of the joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team on 01473 613500.