Brighton carpenter fall death: Bosses 'totally failed'

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

There was a "total failure" by a millionaire businessman and his foreman to ensure the safety of their workers when a carpenter fell to his death at a building site, a court heard.

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

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

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

Prosecuting, Thomas Kark QC said despite previous warnings there was a "lack of consideration for safety" on the part of the defendants to their employees.

The court heard a site visit from a health and safety inspector in 2013 raised issues with the way work was being carried out on buildings next to Stanmer House in Stanmer Park.

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

On 30 September 2014 Mr Clark fell 4.5 metres when a plank he was standing on snapped. He was carrying a load of between 20 and 30kg at the time.

Defending Mr Holland, John Cooper QC said: "David Clarke's death was a tragedy. But when waving the finger of blame, let's do it carefully."

Fellow carpenter Andrew Cooper witnessed Mr Clark fall.

He told the court: "I heard the board crack, and looked up. I saw him disappear down the void."

Both defendants pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

Mr Holland, of Kings Road, Brighton, and Mr Oakes 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, pleaded not guilty to a further charge of failures of health and safety in the work place.

The trial continues.

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