Worlingworth: Engineer to be charged over wall collapse deaths
A structural engineer is to appear in court faced with manslaughter charges following an investigation into the deaths of two people crushed by a wall while working on a barn conversion.
Matthew Skeet, 19, and Kevin Ruffles, 57, were killed during the incident in Worlingworth, near Framlingham, on October 21, 2010.
Gaon Hart, a Senior Crown Advocate in the Special Crime Division for the Crown Prosecution Service said that after carefully reviewing all of the evidence gathered by Suffolk Police during their investigation into the deaths, it was concluded that there was sufficient evidence to bring charges.
Barry Potts, 64, of Freston, near Ipswich, will be charged with gross negligence manslaughter and site owner Elliston Steady & Hawes (Building) with health and safety offences.
They are due to appear before Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on 5 July.
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Mtr Hart said: “Matthew and Kevin died whilst working on a building site at The Old Maltings in Worlingworth Suffolk, when a wall collapsed on top of them.
“It was concluded that there is sufficient evidence to charge Barry Potts, a structural engineer who was advising Matthew and Kevin on their work, with gross negligence manslaughter under the common law and with a health and safety offence.
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“It is alleged that Mr Potts gave Matthew Skeet and Kevin Ruffles permission to dig a trench under part of the wall, which weakened the foundations and led the wall to collapse.
“The CPS has also concluded that there is sufficient evidence to charge Elliston Steady & Hawes (Building) Limited, the company who owned the site, The Old Maltings in Worlingworth Suffolk, with health and safety offences.
“This decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
“I extend my sincere sympathies to the families of Mr Skeet and Mr Ruffles.”