Sussex

Brighton fall death: Carpenter David Clark 'was warned'

Stanmer House Image copyright Google
Image caption David Clark was working on buildings in Stanmer Park in Brighton

A carpenter who fell to his death chose to place a scaffolding board across a void even though a friend had "warned him against it", a court has heard.

David Clark, 55, fell while at a property in Brighton in September 2014 and died in hospital a month later.

Millionaire businessman Michael Holland, owner of a renovation company, and site foreman Grant Oakes deny manslaughter.

Jurors at Lewes Crown Court heard they also face health and safety charges.

Mr Clark, who was carrying a load of between 20 and 30kg at the time, fell 4.5 metres when a plank he was standing on snapped.

The scaffolding board was placed to bridge a void on one of the upper floors of the building in Stanmer Park, the court heard.

Image caption Mike Holland denies the manslaughter of a carpenter who fell to his death

Defence lawyer for Mr Oakes, Craig Rush QC, urged jurors to "ignore" the unsecured ladders and the lack of guard rails on the site in his closing statement.

"The accident happened because Dave Clark chose to place a scaffolding board across a void," he added.

"The board had almost completely been cut through. He chose to walk across that scaffold board.

"In circumstances where he didn't need to go across the void and when his friend had warned him against it."

Earlier in the trial, the court heard a site visit from a health and safety inspector in 2013 raised issues with the way work was being carried out.

Mr Holland, of Kings Road, Brighton, and Mr Oakes have pleaded guilty to failing to discharge duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act, regarding subcontractors working at height.

Mr Oakes, of Elm Drive, Hove, has pleaded not guilty to a further charge of failures of health and safety in the work place.

The trial continues.

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