Fines issued after Worlingworth wall collapse deaths

Latest News from the Diss Express,, @diss_express on Twitter
Latest News from the Diss Express,, @diss_express on Twitter

A man and a firm have been fined after a wall in Worlingworth collapsed and killed two men.

Kevin Ruffles, 57, of Hollesley and 19-year-old Matthew Skeet, Woodbridge, died while working on a barn conversion on October 21, 2010.

Elliston Steady & Hawes (Building) Limited, based in Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, was fined £45,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,000, while structural engineer Barry Potts, Freston, was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs at sentencing at Ipswich Crown Court last Friday. Both had pleaded guilty in relation to health and safety breaches at an earlier hearing at Southwark Crown Court last December.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Smith who led the enquiry said: “This was a tragic incident in which two men lost their lives. It has taken over three years to achieve the sentencing outcome today and I am conscious that this has caused additional heartache for Kevin and Matthew’s families.

“I would stress that the investigation into how the wall collapsed and the surrounding circumstances has been very complex and demanding for a number of reasons.

“After the wall collapse the Malting’s building needed to be made safe, before structural engineering experts and investigators could properly examine the site.

“In passing sentence Mr Justice Singh, has recognised that both Barry Potts and Elliston Steady and Hawes (Building) Limited committed serious breaches of health and safety regulations.”

Investigating Health and Safety Executive Inspector Lesley Balkham said: “This was an entirely preventable incident that resulted in the tragic deaths of two people working on a construction site.”