Splott Church Collapse: Four Sentenced Over Death

Four men have received suspended prison sentences for offences related to health and safety breaches after a worker died following a church collapse.

Scaffolder and father-of-two Jeff Plevey, 56, of Cardiff, was crushed to death at the Citadel Church, Splott, as he worked on its demolition in July 2017. Mr Plevey died when the rear wall of the church gave way as he worked on it and his body was later found in the rubble.

Judge Mrs Justice Jefford said each of the defendants “bear some degree of responsibility for this sad and unnecessary death.”

Prosecutor Andrew Langdon QC said it could have been avoided with proper diligence, and that there was “insufficient coordination and oversight” in the project.

The four men and firms received a number of sentences and fines during a hearing at Cardiff Crown Court on Wednesday:

Keith Young, 74, of Llandough, Vale of Glamorgan: 45-week sentence suspended for 18 months after being convicted of failing to take necessary steps to ensure a structure does not collapse. He must pay costs of £66,000.

Stewart Swain, 54, of Whitchurch, Cardiff: 39-week sentence suspended for 15 months after being convicted of failure to discharge a duty. He must pay costs of £25,000.

Philip Thomas, 57, of Thornhill, Cardiff: 36-week sentence suspended for 15 months after pleading guilty to failure to discharge a duty along with costs of £20,000.

Richard Dean, 60, of Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, and his company: 35-week sentence suspended for 15 months after pleading guilty to failure to discharge a duty. He must pay costs of £20,000.

Swain Scaffolding Ltd (director Stewart Swain): fined £120,000 with costs of £25,000 after being convicted of failure to discharge a duty.

South Wales Safety Consultancy Ltd (director Philip Thomas): fined £97,500 with £17,500 costs after pleading guilty to failure to discharge a duty.

NJP Consultant Engineers Ltd (director Richard Dean): fined £93,300 with £6,700 in costs after pleading guilty to failure to discharge a duty.

Strongs Partnership Ltd: fined £33,500 with £17,500 in costs after pleading guilty to failure to discharge a duty.

Young was the contractor in charge of the demolition while Swain was the sole director of Swains Scaffolding Ltd.

My Professional Opinion

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Safe working practices, established through suitable and sufficient risk assessments are in place for everyone’s protection. These assessments and method statements should be produced in conjunction with, and co-operation of any employees who are likely to be affected by the operation or task being risk assessed. They should be freely available and reviewed at regular intervals or if there are any changes to the operation or task.

If you have any questions relating to this or any health and safety concerns, I’d be more than happy to have a discussion.

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Steve Kilburn
Steve Kilburn
I initially trained as an industrial chemist working in a variety of manufacturing environments eventually moving into quality management which grew to encompass environmental and occupational health and safety management systems. I hold a Masters Degree in Health and Safety law and Environmental Law and a Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Waste Management and I am a Graduate Level Member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). In my spare time I enjoy reading, my favourite author is Stephen King, and listening to music, generally from the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
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