Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 8°C

Search

Worlingworth: Family’s search for answers continues after they’re left ‘totally unsatisfied’ with court ruling

10:09 15 February 2014

Bethany, Linda and David Skeet wore red to Ipswich Crown Court on Friday, 14 February to signify their broken hearts while hearing the verdict of Matthew Skeet

Bethany, Linda and David Skeet wore red to Ipswich Crown Court on Friday, 14 February to signify their broken hearts while hearing the verdict of Matthew Skeet's death in 2010.

The family of a teenage workman killed on a construction site in Suffolk have vowed to continue their search for answers after a judge’s sentencing left them “totally unsatisfied”.

shares

Matthew Skeet, 19, died when the wall of a barn he was helping to convert in Worlingworth, near Framlingham, collapsed, crushing him and his employer Kevin Ruffles, 57, in October 2010.

Those responsible for safety failings on the site where the two men died were yesterday fined a total of £60,000 and ordered to pay combined costs of a further £20,000.

Mr Justice Rabinder Singh, sentencing at Ipswich Crown Court, said the fines “cannot and do not attempt to put a value on the loss of human life”.

“Nothing which I say can provide adequate comfort to the family of Mr Ruffles or Mr Skeet,” he added.

However the Skeet family, from Woodbridge, have despaired at what they believe is the impotence of the justice system.

Although the safety failings were not directly attributed to the deaths, Linda Skeet, Matthew’s mother, said the fines were “comical”, a “failure of justice” and had tainted her son’s memory.

“My son was wiped off the face of the earth through no fault of his own and it seems as though his life was barely worth a penny,” she said.

“We’re not satisfied that justice has been done and we won’t rest until we feel that it has been.

“Matty was the innocent party in all of this and yet no one seems to have been held fully accountable for his death.”

Barry Potts, 65, a structural engineer from Freston, was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs for his part in safety failings on the site leading up to the fatal accident.

Elliston Steady & Hawes (Building) Ltd, the site contractor, was fined £45,000 and ordered to pay a further £15,000 in costs at the hearing.

The court heard that Mr Skeet and Mr Ruffles had died when the barn’s gable wall fell on them following the excavation of a trench which undermined its foundations.

Investigators for the Health and Safety Executive had determined that there was “no rational explanation” for Potts to agree to the excavation being carried out in the method suggested by Mr Ruffles.

Judge Singh said Potts had “failed to consider the inherent dangers of the area being investigated” and held a “fundamental misunderstanding of the risks involved”.

“He fell far below the standards expected of him by the health and safety at work act,” he ruled.

Judge Singh agreed with the company’s defence that it was “entitled to rely on” Potts in maintaining the site safety.

However he said there had been a “serious breach” in safety because of its failure to ensure the correct method statement were produced.

“I accept that (the company) failed in its responsibilities to properly manage the project and put appropriate mechanisms in place and this was not simply a failure of documents being in place,” he said.

shares

7 comments

  • are the fines compensation for the familys of the dead men or does it go to the council ?

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

  • part two [ someone please answer my question as i have asked this before.

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

  • That's an interesting point Terence ,,, I doubt weather it's compensation for the family's mate

    Report this comment

    MIGUEL100

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

  • Hi Terence, the money mentioned in the article would be paid to the court. I don't think any of it would go to the council. Money going to the victim's family would be designated as compensation; I don't know if the compensation has been sorted out yet.

    Report this comment

    BigGeoff

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

  • That's an interesting point Terence ,,, I doubt weather it's compensation for the family's mate

    Report this comment

    MIGUEL100

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

  • That's an interesting point Terence ,,, I doubt weather it's compensation for the family's mate

    Report this comment

    MIGUEL100

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

  • thanks miguel 100 ,health and safety always says something is wrong but compensation is never mentioned.

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Sunday, February 16, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Stock image of the A12.

A number of ladders have fallen from a lorry onto the road and central reservation on the A12 at East Bergholt.

Kim Sale pictured at her home in Kesgrave with mum, Kellie Thorndyke.

Kesgrave teenager Kim Sale says she is looking forward to the rest of her life, almost a year to the day since she was dealt the devastating news that a tumour in her leg was cancerous.

People enjoy the hot weather on Aldeburgh beach.
Sienna Collins,Jemma Ward,Kerry ,Isla and Mason Collins.

Suffolk is set to bask in 23 degree sunshine this weekend, with tourism hotspots across the county set to benefit from the early summer weather.

Pub quiz.

British author and mathematician Bertrand Russell said: “There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.”

Trains will be disrupted until approximately 2.30pm

Train services between Ipswich and Cambridge are being delayed by up to 30 minutes and suspended at short notice due to a signal fault between Cambridge and Dullingham.

The hearing impairment unit at Rushmere Hall School.
Back L-R David, Sarah Arch, Jo Hughes,Ann Wade,John.
Middle L-R Aston, Evie, Alfie.
Front L-R Amelia, Madison, Georgia.

Reporter Edmund Crosthwaite visited the specialist hearing impaired unit at Rushmere Hall Primary School as part of Deaf Awareness Week (May 2-8).

20 month old Brody Bevan has Williams Syndrome. Brody is pictured at home in Stowmarket with mum, Nikki.

Two Suffolk parents are organising a fun day to raise awareness and funds to research a rare genetic disorder affecting their young son.

Suffolk and Essex go to the polls today

Have you voted yet? If you are still confused, see our Q&A on the day’s voting.

Meet the candidates vying for your votes ahead of the Suffolk police and crime commissioner elections

Today’s the day when voters in Suffolk can vote for a Police and Crime Commissioner for the county to serve for the next four years.

An artist's impression of the Arras Square to the Buttermarket - as it should look later this year.

Five major restaurants have now formally signed up for the new-look Buttermarket Centre in the heart of Ipswich which is due to open later this year.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24