CamdenNewJournal

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Parents of lawyer killed by falling frames in Mayfair hit out at health and safety failings

Construction worker jailed at Old Bailey for manslaughter by gross negligence

12 May, 2017 — By Tom Foot

Amanda Telfer was aged 43 when she died in 2012 

THE parents of a woman crushed to death by falling window frames have warned that health and safety training on building sites is “totally inadequate”.

Barry and Ann Telfer issued a joint statement after a construction work- er was sentenced to 12 months in jail at the Old Bailey on Friday. Kelvin Adsett, 64, from Slough, was convicted in March of man-slaughter by gross negligence under the Health and Safety at Work Act following the death of lawyer Amanda Telfer, 43, in August 2012 in Mayfair.

After the verdict on Friday, Mr and Ms Telfer said: “Amanda was a bright, lovely, professional woman living her life to the full and making plans for the future.

“Her future was taken from her when she was crushed to death by half ton window frames which took two seconds to fall on her. The frames had been left standing, almost vertically, at the side of a public pavement, unsecured to anything, unattended, and with no safety barriers around them.

“If construction companies and the people who work for them are not held to account for such high levels of negligence and incompetence then none of us is safe walking the streets next to construction sites. The health and safety training being given is totally inadequate, if risk of death to passers-by is ignored.”

On August 30 2012 Ms Telfer, an intellectual property and media lawyer, was walking along the pavement past a construction site in Hanover Square when three large unglazed window frames, together weighing 655kg, fell on her. The window frames were left on the pavement, overnight, leaning against the building.

No efforts were made to secure them and no barrier placed around the frames which are believed to have fallen over after a door was blown open by the wind. The company Mr Adsett was working for, IS Europe Ltd of Slough, Berkshire, was convicted of offences under sections two and three of the Health and Safety at Work Act and fined £100,000.

The court heard the firm’s accounts contained only £250. Westgreen Construction Ltd employee Damian Lakin-Hall, 50, of Cobham, was convicted of failing to take reasonable care of safety while at work and sentenced to six months’ jail, suspended for two years. Ms Telfer’s death was investigated by the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command with the assistance of the Health and Safety Executive.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Chalmers said: “Today’s sentencing brings to a conclusion an incredibly long and complex investigation that has taken almost five years to bring before the courts.

“The enforcement of the law is key to safe-guarding workers and the public alike and this case demonstrates, unfortunately in the most tragic way, what happens when individuals and companies do not take their health and safety obligations seriously.

“Each had a responsibility for the safety of the construction site but failed to deal with a basic task that very obviously then presented a serious hazard.

“Amanda’s death was completely avoidable and it is only right that those who failed in their duty have been held to account.”

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