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Leeds Council facing manslaughter charge over skyscraper

A council could be facing corporate manslaughter charges over designs of a building in Leeds which local residents say contributed to the death of a 22 year old man.

Leeds City Council are alleged to have ignored complaints about the high winds generated by the Bridgewater Place skyscraper in the city centre, at an inquest into the death of Edward Slaney who was crushed by a lorry in March last year.

The inquest heard how the vehicle was blown off the ground before colliding with Mr Slaney.

The Coroner Melanie Williamson, is reported as asking during the inquest: ‘How many deaths will it take before the council do something to prevent this ever happening again?’

Ms Williams later concluded: ‘I have listened very carefully to all of the evidence and feel an offence of corporate manslaughter may have been committed by one or more organisations.

‘I am obliged to adjourn this inquest and pass on my concerns to the Crown Prosecution Service. This is not a step I have taken lightly.’  

A spokesman for Bridgewater Place Ltd said: “As originally stated, all building and planning regulations were fully adhered to in the development of Bridgewater Place. As part of the requirements for obtaining planning permission, Leeds City Council specifically requested that a comprehensive wind tunnel analysis was conducted to assess the effect of the building on the surrounding area.

“This was carried out by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and was required prior to construction starting on site.”

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