Wales

Joiner Christopher Richards crushed to death by caravan

Christopher Richards and his Mother Pamela Richards Image copyright Family Photo
Image caption Christopher Richards, seen here with his mother Pamela, suffered catastrophic injuries when a four-ton caravan fell on top of him in 2014

A joiner was crushed to death while changing a tyre on a four-tonne caravan, a court has heard.

Christopher Richards, 48, died when the caravan collapsed on top of him at Blackhills Caravan Sales in the Crofty Industrial Estate, Swansea, in 2014.

The firm pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches and was fined £120,000 at Swansea Crown Court on Friday.

The court heard the tyre shifted off a jack, causing the chassis to fall on to Mr Richards's chest.

Mr Richards, who had been working with the family-run business for more than two years, suffered catastrophic injuries and died in hospital three days later.

Lee Reynolds, prosecuting on behalf of Swansea council, told the court the firm did not have industry-standard safety procedures in place on the day of the incident.

Image caption Blackhills Caravan Sales was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £14,000 in costs after Christopher Richards was crushed to death while working

He said it was an "accident waiting to happen".

Simon Morgan, representing Blackhills Caravan Sales, told the court unwritten safety procedures were in place based on the experience of staff.

But the age of the caravan, which was 16 years old, meant there were no designated jacking points on the chassis, he said.

Mr Morgan added that the caravan's structure twisted unexpectedly and it was therefore an "exceptional incident".

Three health and safety charges against company directors were dropped in December following the firm's guilty plea.

In addition to the fine, the judge ordered the company to pay £14,000 in costs.

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