Lee Balkwell concrete mixer death: Simon Bromley cleared of manslaughter

Lee Balkwell Lee Balkwell died after becoming trapped in a concrete mixer in 2002

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The boss of a worker who was crushed to death in a concrete mixer has been cleared of manslaughter, but found guilty of breaching health and safety regulations.

Lee Balkwell, 33, died at a farm in South Ockendon, Essex, in 2002.

His boss, Simon Bromley, 45, was found not guilty of unlawful killing by gross negligence at Chelmsford Crown Court.

He will be sentenced on Tuesday for failing to discharge his duty under health and safety regulations.

During the trial, the court was told Mr Balkwell had worked as an HGV driver, before being employed by Bromley to drive a concrete mixer.

'Tragic accident'

The jury heard on the day he died, Mr Balkwell and Bromley, of Baldwin's Farm, Dennises Lane, South Ockendon, had been working to clean out hardened concrete from inside the mixer.

Mr Balkwell died after he became trapped between the drum and chassis of the vehicle.

Prosecutor Karim Khalil QC claimed Bromley had a "lax attitude to safety".

The court heard Mr Balkwell had not been offered any training for using the mixer, and Bromley had not provided him with safety clothing or equipment.

Speaking for the defence, Peter Rowlands said Essex Police had described Mr Balkwell's death as a "tragic accident" in 2002.

But an inquest in 2008 ruled he had been unlawfully killed.

In his conclusion, Mr Rowlands told the court police had originally "got this right" when they did not prosecute Bromley.

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