Firm fined over Wembley stadium death

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The Independent Online

A construction firm was today fined £150,000 after a father-of-two was killed in an accident during the building of the new Wembley stadium.

Patrick O'Sullivan, 54, originally from Cork, Ireland, died when a 303kg scaffolding platform collapsed and fell on him in January 2004.

PC Harrington Contractors admitted a breach of health and safety legislation at an earlier hearing.

The firm, which last year had a turnover of £151 million pounds, had been subcontracted to build a reinforced concrete framework by builders Multiplex.

Mr O'Sullivan, a carpenter, was killed, and colleague Martin Carroll injured when a platform gave way and plunged to the ground at the site in north London.

The accident happened when a rope attached to a skip carrying concrete snagged on the platform, the Old Bailey heard.

Judge Martyn Zeidman said: "It was just a matter of good fortune that there were not more people killed."

Mr O'Sullivan's wife Mary, 58, a carer who worked for Ealing council, said in a statement that her husband's death was a "nightmare".

The court heard that the couple married in Ireland in 1970, moving to Britain three years later, and had a son John, 37, and daughter Margaret, 38.

"She points out that her husband was denied an old age and a chance to enjoy his retirement after working so hard all his life," said the judge. "One can never put a value on the life of Mr Patrick O'Sullivan. He is priceless."

The judge said the lessons of what happened "must never be forgotten".

He gave the company 12 months to pay the fine and also ordered it to pay prosecution costs of £25,203.