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Telehandler death appeal fails as judge upholds jail sentence

NEWS

A BUILDER jailed for 18 months for manslaughter following the death of an employee had his appeal against the sentence rejected on Monday.

Wayne Davies ran a barnbuilding specialist. He was sent down in April after the death of Mark Jones in February 2004.

Mr Jones fell from a telehandler which toppled over during barn renovation work in Kinver, south Staffordshire.

Judge Sir Michael Wright, who dismissed Davies' challenge to the verdict at London's Criminal Appeal Court on Monday, called the machine 'lethal and dangerous'.

Those using it had insufficient training and the cage used by the operators was home-made.

Sir Michael said the machine had never been serviced under Davies' care while a front wheel contained none of the water ballast required to keep it anchored. Mr Jones was working with a colleague in the cage when the telehandler fell over, throwing both to the ground.

He was flung onto a road where he suffered massive internal injuries. The other man was seriously injured.

Sir Michael said Davies was guilty of a 'gross breach of duty'.

The court heard Davies had no employer's liability insurance, which meant that although Mr Jones's widow has secured a compensation ruling of 'more than £300,000' this is likely to be worthless.

Sir Michael said: 'His total disregard for safety of the workmen calls for punishment of an exemplary nature.'