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Avonmouth case rules out manslaughter

DISTRAUGHT relatives of the four men killed in the Avonmouth Gantry collapse in September 1999 will now never see a manslaughter trial in relation to the case.

The Crown Prosecution Service announced this week it was unable to find sufficient new evidence which could lead to a conviction after a suspended inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing in July 2003.

A CPS spokesman said: 'Nothing new emerged to change the original decision taken and we have decided that there is still insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction for manslaughter against any individual or company in this case.'

Paul Stewart, 23, Ronald Hill, 39, Andrew Rodgers, 40, and Jeff Williams, 42, died when the gantry on which they were working collapsed during strengthening work on the M5 Avonmouth Bridge, near Bristol.

In February this year a fresh look into the evidence was launched by Avon and Somerset Police, the CPS and the Health and Safety Executive, including a review of the mammoth transcript from the eightday inquest.

Costain and Yarm Road, formerly Kvaerner Cleveland Bridge, were both fined £250,000 for health and safety breaches following the tragedy.