ELO man's hay-bale death to go to trial

Tuesday 14 February 2012 01:00

Two men are to stand trial after a founder member of the 1970s rock group Electric Light Orchestra was killed by a giant rolling hay bale.

Michael Edwards, 62, the band's former cellist, was killed by a 400kg bale of silage which rolled on to his moving van from a field as he drove along a rural road in Devon. Edwards, who played with the Birmingham band between 1972 and 1975, died instantly from massive head injuries in the accident near Totnes, in September 2010, despite the efforts of a local GP.

Brian Burden, 47, a farmer, and Russell Williams, 23, a contractor, appeared at Plymouth Crown Court yesterday. The men, who are both from south Devon, denied two charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act, of failing to ensure the safety of people at the scene and of failing to carry out a risk assessment.

Mr Burden owned the field from which the bale rolled and Mr Williams was the contractor doing the baling work. Judge Francis Gilbert released them both on unconditional bail ahead of a trial on a date yet to be set.