No prosecution over building site death

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The Independent Online
MICHAEL was the youngest of Maureen Brennan's six children. He was 19 when he died on 2 April 1990 on a building site near Watford.

With no driving licence and no training, he was driving a dumper truck on a steep embankment when it overturned. He tried to jump clear but hit his head and was knocked unconscious. The truck, which was said to have been overloaded, with faulty brakes, rolled over, crushing him to death.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted his employer, JF McMahon, which was a sub- contracting company for Alfred McAlpine, the main contractor. But JF McMahon went into liquidation before the hearing at Watford magistrates' court. HSE officials say the magistrates dismissed the case on the grounds that it was a waste of public money, but Mrs Brennan says it was withdrawn.

Neither the company nor its directors have been penalised over the death although the HSE is taking legal advice on re-opening the case after pressure from Mrs Brennan.

'Our lives will never be the same. His brother got married, he should have been there. His sister has had a baby he will never see. I have a son in the building trade as a plasterer. Something could happen to him.

'The Health and Safety Executive were the only people who could have done something about it and they failed. They say the case was dismissed because they couldn't get the fine from a company in liquidation.

'I had a pounds 3.01 poll tax demand because Michael lived two days of the new financial year. I was told somebody had to be responsible for the money. If only they were that worried about his death.'

(Photograph omitted)