A Welsh builder has been sentenced to a two-year jail term for gross negligence manslaughter, after a three-year-old girl was killed by a collapsing wall.
George Collier was sentenced after his company, Parcol Development Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Mold Crown Court heard that Collier, 49, had been working outside a house in Ffordd Penrhwylfa, Meliden in Prestatyn on 26 July 2008, when three-year-old Meg Burgess and mother Lindsay Burgess walked by on a public footpath.
A wall, built and backfilled by Collier, was acting as a retaining wall, but was not designed to support the weight of the earth stacked up against it. It collapsed, killing Meg.
Health and Safety Executive inspector Debbie John said: “This was an entirely preventable incident that resulted in the tragic death of an innocent three-year-old girl. There were basic failings in the way that George Collier and Parcol Developments Ltd planned and managed the construction of the wall, leading to its collapse.
“On the day of the incident George Collier and Parcol Developments Ltd backfilled the wall despite knowing that retaining walls should be designed by a specialist structural engineer. Neither had engaged a structural engineer to design a safe retaining wall.
“This case is an important reminder to those working in construction to make sure that design work is done by competent people and building is done to the appropriate standard. It also highlights the importance of ensuring that members of the public are kept away from construction work.”
Rosemary Ainslie, lawyer for the CPS Special Crime division, said: “This was a tragic case, in which a young girl lost her life.
“Mr Collier was responsible for the design and construction of the wall but did not make sure it was built to safe standards, nor did he prevent members of the public from walking past it, with terrible consequences.
“The jury has found Mr Collier guilty of gross negligence manslaughter and his conviction should act not only as a reminder of the dangers of sub-standard building work but also of the consequences for those who carry it out.
“I extend my deepest sympathies to the family of young Meg Burgess.”