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Two in court after toddler is killed by concrete block

A TODDLER was crushed to death by a concrete building block as he played on a construction site, a jury at Nottingham Crown Court heard last week.

Declan Elton, 2, was killed in July 2003 by a 1 m-high concrete block as he played with his brother and a friend on the site on Stocking Farm estate next door to his home in Leicester.

Property developer Virendra Kotak, 49, of Rushey Mead, Leicester, and builder Stephen Patterson, 42, of Awsworth, Nottinghamshire, have both pleaded not guilty to one charge of manslaughter and one charge of breaching health and safety regulations.Leicester Police and the Health and Safety Executive conducted an eightmonth investigation into the boy's death.

Mr Kotak and Mr Patterson had left 30 pre-cast blocks weighing 640 lbs outside the building site, the court heard.

Opening the prosecution, Gregory Dickinson QC said: 'The units were just outside the gates, not inside the building site.The workmen left these wall units outside the site unfenced.Children tend to be attracted to play on things like that.

'Quickly and unintentionally, the children caused one of those slabs to fall.There was a domino effect and Declan was killed.

It was unnecessary and it was caused by the gross negligence of these two defendants.'' The court heard that Mr Kotak, despite having no experience of running largescale building projects, decided to project manage the site himself.

Mr Dickinson said: 'Although this was a big development on a large site, Mr Kotak was determined to keep the costs to a minimum.That is a heavy responsibility.'

The trial continues.