Northern Ireland

Father of slurry death son hopes lessons will be learnt

Dutch workers examine the scene
Image caption Workers examining the scene at the farm where the accident happened in June 2005

The father of a man who died after a farm accident said he hopes lessons will be learnt by other agricultural contractors.

James Wilson, 21 and Kenneth Blair, 33, died after a slurry container burst open in 2005 at Ballela, County Down.

Their families took Trevor Moore, 53, from Townhill Road, Rasharkin to court.

Mr Moore was fined £3,000 for failing to carry out a number of safety procedures which resulted in the deaths of the two farm workers.

The judge said if it had been in different circumstances he would have fined him tens of thousands of pounds but he had to take into consideration the fact that he was bankrupt and unable to work again due to ill health.

"Disappointed"

Speaking outside Belfast Crown Court, Robin Wilson, whose son James was killed, said the family "just have to be thankful that it has turned out the way it has".

"Maybe we're a bit disappointed in the fine Trevor Moore has got but we have to understand that the judge has to work according to the means of the man and we understand that and we're not out to look for revenge at all," he said.

"But I believe there is a lesson to be learned in this case and that other agricultural contractors should take note."

Mr Wilson said it had been a "difficult time" for the family.

"It's something we will have to live with for the rest of our lives but we're just glad that it has come to an end now and there's a certain amount of closure in the case."

The family of Kenneth Blair said they think the fine is too lenient but they understand why the judge made his decision.

"Sorry"

Mr Moore expressed his sorrow for what had happened.

"I'm just sorry for the families, that's all I can say."

Mr Moore was given three years to pay the fine because he has since been declared bankrupt.

The 22-metre flexible storage bag containing the slurry was the first of its type in Northern Ireland.

The two men's bodies were retrieved by specialist rescue teams after a tanker driver dialled one of their phones.

The men were pumping waste from a tanker when the accident happened. They were hit by thousands of gallons of waste.

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