Month: April 2016

Hillsborough Families to sue Police for £19 Million

It has emerged that survivors and the families of those who died during Hillsborough are to sue South Yorkshire and West Midlands police forces for ‘abuse on an industrial scale’.

‘Abuse on an industrial scale’

Lawyers acting for the hundreds of people directly affected by the 1989 disaster have said that they have now launched legal proceedings against both forces. The firm involved have declared that they are taking legal action for the “cover up and actions intended to wrongly blame the deceased and Liverpool Football Club supporters for the tragedy, for which there has still been no proper admission or apology”. They hope to

96 – Unlawfully killed

On Tuesday of this week (26th April 2016), following a 2 year inquest – the longest in British history – jurors determined that the 96 victims of the disaster were unlawfully killed. For 27 years there were claims that the fans of Liverpool FC were to blame, however jurors at the inquest unanimously agreed that the behaviour of fans did not contribute whatsoever to the tragedy that unfolded on that day:

‘Police errors in planning, defects at the stadium and delays in the emergency response all contributed to the disaster. The behaviour of fans was not to blame.’

They decided that match commander Ch Supt David Duckenfield had a duty of care to fans in the stadium that day and that he was in breach of that duty.

The jurors concluded that this breach amounted to gross negligence and therefor the 96 victims were unlawfully killed.

The men and women of the jury also determined:

• Defects at the stadium contributed the disaster
• There was an error in the safety certification of the Hillsborough stadium

Police chief suspended

Following Tuesday’s verdict, the South Yorkshire Police chief constable, David Crompton, was suspended. In part, due to his conduct during the inquest.

West Midlands police now face legal action regarding claims that officers in the force changed the statements of some Liverpool FC’s fans in the wake of the disaster.

Furthermore, the Crown Prosecution Service has stated that they are cooperating with two investigations into potential criminal offences committed by police officers and other individuals that may have led to the deaths of the 96 victims. The CPS has also confirmed that they are cooperating with an investigation into the alleged police cover-up afterwards.

Hillsborough – An overview

96 men, women and children died as a result of severe crushing at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium at the 1989 FA cup semi-final match between Liverpool Football Club and Nottingham Forrest.

• The match on the 15th April 1989 was sold out, with over 53,000 fans from both clubs arriving at the stadium for the planned 3pm kick off.

• The Leppings Lane end of the stadium was the smaller section of the stadium and had been allocated to the Liverpool supporters, despite the club having a larger group of fans than Nottingham Forrest.

• Fans begin to arrive at Leppings Lane at around 12pm and only seven turnstiles were opened to allow more than 10,000 fans into the standing terraces. At the time, such terraces were divided into ‘pens’ – high fences put in place to separate fans from the pitch.

• By 2.50pm, the two ‘pens’ behind the goal, pens 3 and 4, were at max capacity, whilst the other two pens either side – which were relatively empty – were badly sign posted.

• Police errors led to a dangerous situation with crowding outside the Leppings Lane end.

• By 2.59pm as more and more fans were guided into the two pens already full, severe crushing started to occur.

• At 3pm, the match kicked off and a few minutes later a crush barrier in pen 3 collapsed, causing fans to fall on top of one another.

• Supporters started to climb the fences to try and escape the crush. Some fans were hauled to safety by fans situated in the upper tiers.

• Survivors have told of how they witnessed other fans losing consciousness, many as they were crushed up against the wire fences and each other.

• At 3.06pm the referee stopped the match on the orders of Superintendent Roger Greenwood.

• Fans attempted to administer first aid to the injured, ripping up advertising hoardings to use as makeshift stretchers.

• Police delayed declaring a major incident. Ambulances were dispatched to the stadium, but access was delayed due to police reporting ‘crowd trouble’.

Source: BBC News; The Guardian; The Guardian

Man Found Guilty of Sexual Assault

A 24 year old man has been found guilty of sexual assault after he groped a woman in the South Lakeland area of Cumbria last summer.

Enrico Annunziata was trialled at Carlisle Crown Court this week after he denied the sexual assault charge brought against him. Following a two day hearing in which the female victim gave evidence, jury members found Annunziata guilty of the offence.

During the trail, it was revealed that the offender had previously appeared at the same court charged with a separate sexual assault charge after an incident in 2014 with a different woman.

After hearing the jury’s guilty verdict, Judge Tony Lancaster ordered the probation service to complete a background check on Annunziata, who is due to be sentenced for both offences next month. Annunziata has been remanded on bail in the meantime and has been ordered to sign the sex offender’s register.

Sexual Assault Claims – Expert Advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual assault and abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner.

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk.

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: Cumbria Crack

Worker Fractures Skull in Fall From Height

A Sheffield based signage company has been prosecuted following an incident in which a worker fell five meters from a flat roof.

In 2015, Warburton Signs Limited were contracted to put up a large sign outside an industrial building. In order to erect the sign, three workers accessed a neighbouring roof, however whist doing so, one worker fell. As a result, the worker suffered numerous life threatening injuries, including a collapsed lung, several broken ribs, chipped vertebra and a fractured skull.

Following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident on April 13th, it was revealed that the company had failed to put measures in place to ensure that falls from height were avoided.

After pleading guilty to Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 Warburton Signs Limited, of Trident House, High Street, Beighton, Sheffield, was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs totalling £1538.

Helen Barley, HSE inspector, said after the hearing:

“Failure to prevent falls when working at height can lead to serious injury or death.”

Injury at Work – Expert Advice

If you have been injured in the workplace you could be entitled to personal injury compensation. Remember, we offer you a FREE no-obligation consultation – discover today whether you have a claim. Speak to one of our professional and friendly advisers today on 0800 888 6 888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.co.uk

Source: Health & Safety Executive

Teenager Avoids Jail for Stabbing Man Who Abused Her

A judge has refused to jail a teenage girl for stabbing a 56 year old man, because he sexually assaulted her when he was just eight years old.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC claimed it would be a disgrace to hand the child a custodial sentence, despite the girl stabbing the man in front of his own children. The judge also refused to charge the teenager with the mandatory victim surcharge, adding:

‘If anyone tries to force you, I will pay it myself.’

‘It would be a disgrace to send a survivor like you to prison.’

Attack

Bradford Crown Court heard how the girl went to the man’s house in November last year and stabbed him near his heart, severing a major artery, telling him:

‘I’m going to kill you.’

Afterwards she hugged her aunt, who was also at the property and said ‘Tell my mum I love her’, before handing herself into Trafalgar House police station. When she arrived at the station she told officers:

‘I’ve killed someone.’

The man was saved by the fast action of paramedics at the scene of the attack and later by surgeons at hospital. He required a blood transfusion and was kept in intensive care.

Let down by justice system

The court heard that the girl’s actions were due to the fact that she felt severely let down by the justice system. When the teenager (who cannot be named for legal reasons) was eight, she was sexually assaulted by the man (who also can’t be named for legal reasons). However, he was not jailed for the offence, instead he was handed a community order.

Originally the girl was charged with attempted murder; however the Crown accepted her guilty plea of causing grievous harm with intent.

According to the prosecution, the teenager was ‘entirely destroyed’ when her abuser was not handed a custodial sentence for his offences. Due to his denial the girl was forced to provide evidence in court and later she became paranoid that he would come after her. The court also heard how the girl was eventually excluded from school for poor behaviour.

Elyas Patel, mitigating, said:

‘Rightly or wrongly, this 15-year-old felt that the justice system had let her down.

‘With Your Honour at the wheel, the justice system will not fail her today.’

He added:

‘She was left deeply troubled and scarred. She acted in a few moments of despair and desperation.

‘This is an exceptional case which requires an exceptional course.

‘This deeply troubled and damaged child, bedevilled by low self-esteem, is crying out for help.’

Judge Durham Hall sentenced the girl to a two year Youth Rehabilitation Order with supervision, telling her:

‘You stabbed him in the region of his heart,

‘Mercifully, you did not kill him.

‘He was saved by excellent medical intervention and has made a pretty full recovery.’

The judge continued:

‘Why did you stab this man? Because when you were eight in 2009 he committed serious sexual offences against you.

‘He was treated by the courts, with hindsight, somewhat leniently but things have changed. Now there is condign punishment in cases of this nature, in accordance with the guidelines.’

Sexual Abuse – Expert Advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk.

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: Daily Mail

Smiler Crash: Merlin Attractions Admit to Safety Breaches

The owners of Alton Towers theme park, Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd. (Merlin), have admitted to breaching health & safety laws regarding the highly reported crash involving the park’s Smiler roller coaster last year.

Recap – Smiler Crash

On 2nd June 2015, four people were seriously injured on the Smiler ride when a cart carrying 16 people collided at speed with an empty test cart.

Passengers were suspended at a 45 degree angle over 7 meters off the ground and rescue efforts went on for over four hours. Fire crews had to erect a 25 ft. platform in order to allow emergency services to gain access to the injured passengers.

During the incident, two passengers – Leah Washington, 17, and Vicky Balch, 20 – sustained such serious injuries that they each required leg amputation. Leah and Vicky’s partners, Daniel Thorpe, 27, and Joe Pugh, 18, were also seriously injured in the crash. Daniel suffered leg injuries and a collapsed lung, whilst Joe’s knees were shattered during in the accident.

A fifth passenger, Chanda Chauhan, 49, was also treated following the crash after sustaining internal injuries and a further eleven passengers suffered whiplash injuries.

Previous Incidents

Last summer wasn’t the first time that the theme park had experienced issues with the Smiler roller coaster; there had previously been two issues not long after the ride opened in 2013.

In July of that year, just two months after the ride’s launch, a bolt came loose from the ride, causing a gap in the track. As a result the Smiler was temporarily closed and 48 people had to be rescued. Then in November 2013, wheels detached from the roller coaster and struck several passengers in the front carriage of the ride.

Internal Investigation

Nick Varney, Chief Executive of Merlin Entertainments, said in the immediate aftermath of the crash:

“Technically, it should be impossible for two cars to be on the same section of track at the same time”

“There are fail safe systems and break locks around tracks to make sure that only one car can be on a section of track at a time and clearly today that didn’t happen, and that is what we need to understand.”

“Reports that there were technical glitches on the ride this morning are ones that we have to look into, and at this moment in time I have no idea whether they were related to the final accident or not.”

Merlin accepted responsibility for the crash following an internal investigation, during which it emerged that the incident was caused due to ‘human error’. Staff – who could not see the stationary carriage on the track – overrode the ride’s safety measures, sending the carriage with passengers on a collision course with the empty carriage.

Guilty Plea

On 22 April 2016, Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd. pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. at North Staffordshire Justice Centre, Newcastle-under-Lyme.

District judge John McGarva said the firm faces a “very large fine” when it appears at Stafford crown court next month. The judge also added that there is a possibility that the fine could reach seven figures.

The company’s guilty plea is believed to make Alton Towers the first major theme park in the UK whose owners have admitted a criminal breach of health and safety laws.

Health & Safety Executive

Neil Craig, head of operations for HSE in the Midlands said:

“We welcome the guilty plea entered by Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd. Merlin has acknowledged that it failed in its legal duty to protect people on the Smiler ride.

“Those injured on 2 June last year had every right to expect a carefree and fun day out.

“The incident was profoundly distressing for everyone involved, both physically and mentally. It left some with life changing injuries.

“We hope this first milestone will help those affected to continue their recovery from this tragic incident.”

Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd. is to appear at Stafford court on 20 May for sentencing.

Personal injury compensation – expert help

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation. Our dedicated team of personal injury solicitors offers a FREE no-obligation consultation. For further information about personal injury compensation claims, and to discover whether you have a claim, contact us today on 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

If you would like further information about legal issues surrounding serious injury, contact us today via the details above for expert advice.

Source: Guardian; Guardian; Health & Safety Executive

Business Owner Fined after Apprentice Severs Finger

The owner of an adhesive tape manufacturing business has been prosecuted after an apprentice severed his finger on a rotary die press.

Incident

The sixteen year old was working with the rotary die press, adjusting the guides on the laminating head, when he tripped over. Nuneaton Magistrates’ Court heard that as he tripped, he put his hands in front of him and his finger got caught in the drive gear of the laminating unit. As a result of the incident, which took place on 9 September 2014, the apprentice’s right index finger required amputation.

HSE Inspection & Fines

Following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive it was found that the machine did not have any guarding in place to stop access to dangerous parts of the machine.

After pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, James Fussell (trading as Tecman Speciality Materials), of Berrington Road, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, was fined a total of £6,000. Mr Fussell was also ordered to pay costs of £1,754.

HSE Inspector Michelle Morrison said after the hearing:

‘If the company had ensured that access to the dangerous moving parts of the rotary die press had been prevented, then this young man would not have lost the top of one of his fingers. This was an entirely preventable incident.’

Injury at Work – Expert Advice

If you have been injured in the workplace you could be entitled to personal injury compensation. Remember, we offer you a FREE no-obligation consultation – discover today whether you have a claim. Speak to one of our professional and friendly advisers today on 0800 888 6 888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.co.uk

Source: Health & Safety Executive

Three Companies Fined by Health & Safety Executive

Three companies have been fined for health and safety failings following two separate incidents at the Haverhill site of Jan Cavelle Furniture Company.

Incidents

The first incident occurred when the rotating blade of a biscuit cutter made contact with a worker’s hand as he was operating the machine. The blade cut his thumb to the bone.

In the second incident, a worker was operating an overhead router when the cutter came into contact with his hand. The employee suffered serious cuts and crush injuries to his right index finger.

HSE Investigation

Following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incidents on 28 February 2014 and 2 June 2014, it was found that both took place due to the operators adopting unsafe methods of working. HSE determined that the unsafe practice was due to inadequate supervision, insufficient and unsuitable risk assessments, as well as a lack of training.

Sentencing & Fines

After pleading guilty to two counts of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Jan Cavelle Furniture Company Limited, of Rookwood Way, Haverhill, Suffolk was fined £18,000. The company was also ordered to pay costs of £4,000.

After being found guilty of breaching two counts of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Workplace Training and Consultancy Limited, St Andrews Street South, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk was fined £22,500. The company was also ordered to pay costs of £22,500.

After pleading guilty to breaching two counts of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Leading Health and Safety Consultants Limited, of Chaplin Walk, Great Cornard, Sudbury, Suffolk was fined £5,000. The company was also ordered to pay costs of £5,000.

Injury at Work – Expert Advice

If you have been injured in the workplace you could be entitled to personal injury compensation. Remember, we offer you a FREE no-obligation consultation – discover today whether you have a claim. Speak to one of our professional and friendly advisers today on 0800 888 6 888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.co.uk

Source: Health & Safety Executive

Steel Fabrication Company Fined by Health & Safety Executive

A large North Yorkshire based steel fabrication company has been prosecuted after a forklift truck operator was killed when the vehicle he was operating overturned. The safety breaches that the firm pleaded guilty however, was not the main cause of the accident.

Incident

On 13 March 2013, Kelvin McGibbon was reversing a forklift truck when the vehicle came into contact with a set of steps, causing it to flip upside down. The 27 year old worker was not wearing his seatbelt and the crush injuries he sustained in the incident were fatal.

HSE Investigation

Following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it was found that Severfield (UK) Limited did not manage forklift truck driving operations adequately. It was found that the steel firm did not control the speed at which operators drove their forklift trucks, the company also failed to enforce the wearing of seatbelts.

Sentencing

After pleading guilty to a non-causative breach of Regulation 5(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, Severfield (UK) Limited, of Severs House, Dalton Airfield Industrial Estate, Dalton, Thirsk, North Yorkshire was fined a total of £135,000. The company was also ordered to pay costs of £46,020.

David Welsh, HSE inspector, said after the hearing:

“A company has a legal duty for the health and safety of people working on its site, whether they are employees or not. They are required to assess risks, eliminate them where possible and enforce proper control measures, such as seat belt wear, by checking that safe driving practices are being followed to deal with the risks that remain.

“Sadly, in this case, the prosecution shows that the company’s management of FLT driving operations and risk control measures failed which exposed employees to danger.”

Injury at Work – Expert Advice

If you have been injured in the workplace you could be entitled to personal injury compensation. Remember, we offer you a FREE no-obligation consultation – discover today whether you have a claim. Speak to one of our professional and friendly advisers today on 0800 888 6 888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.co.uk

Source: Health & Safety Executive

Ched Evans Wins Appeal against Rape Conviction

Former Sheffield United footballer Ched Evans has won an appeal against his conviction for rape and now faces a retrial.

2012 Conviction

In 2012 Evans was found guilty of raping a 19 year old woman at a hotel in Rhyl, North Wales. The 27 year old was released from jail two and a half years later.

The ex-Welsh international admitted having sex with the woman, however he has always maintained his innocence, claiming the encounter was consensual.

Following a ten month investigation by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), responsible for investigating possible miscarriages of justice, it was revealed in October 2015 that new evidence had surfaced. Following the announcement of the new evidence, which the CCRC said ‘raises a real possibility the Court of Appeal may now quash the conviction’, Evans’ case was referred to the Court of Appeal.

Retrial

Lady Justice Hallet today announced that Evans’ conviction had been quashed, however he now faces a new trial and the case will be sent back to a Crown Court.

According to the judge, she and her fellow judges heard ‘fresh evidence’ during the appeal hearing last month. Lady Justice Hallet said:

‘In summary, we have concluded that we must allow the appeal and that it is in the interests of justice to order a retrial.’

She added:

‘The appellant will be retried on the allegation of rape.’

Details of the grounds of appeal cannot be reported for legal reasons.

Sexual Abuse – Expert Advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk.

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: Guardian; Daily Mail; Daily Mail

Man Jailed after Filming Sex Attacks on Woman

A 27 year old man has been jailed after he filmed himself raping a woman at a friend’s house just hours after they met in a night club in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

Attacks

Matthew Fellows filmed two attacks on his mobile phone after taking the 26 year old woman back to a friend’s house on 21 September 2012. The clips, which show the victim pleading for him to stop, were shown to police officers – by Fellows – in an attempt to prove his innocence.

Roger Brown, prosecuting, told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court:

‘He tried to kiss her. He tried to force himself on her. He put his whole body weight on top of her.

‘He pulled down her trousers and asked her to perform a sex act on him. She said, “No”, and she was not like that. He said, “Yes you are, you are all sl*gs, just do it”.

‘She tried to push him off. He told her over and over that she must do as she has been told. She was scared and went along with what he was saying.’

Mr Brown said that the woman managed to escape Fellows and attempted to alert others at the house. However, Fellows followed her, taking hold of her legs and pulling her back into the room where he proceeded to record them having intercourse and his victim performing a sex act on him.

Mr Brown added:

‘He asked if she liked it. She said, “Yes”. She only said that because she was scared. As soon as she thought he had gone to sleep she left.’

Arrest & Sentencing

Following the attacks, the victim fled to a nearby shop where she asked staff to call the police. Fellows was arrested by officers not long after.

Judge Paul Glenn told the offender:

‘You recorded what happened on your phone and that is a significant aggravating factor.

‘It is plain having seen the transcript that she was saying, “I have not done anything to hurt you”, and she repeatedly asks you why you are doing what you are doing. It is pitiful.

‘The victim was falling over drunk and you knew that. The complainant was drunk. She had fallen over three times during the evening. You tried to kiss her and then forced yourself upon her.

‘She made it plain she was not interested but you would not take no for an answer. She resisted and scratched your neck. She shouted her friend but to no avail.

‘You were calling her a slag. Eventually, in fear, she submitted to your demands. And you recorded it on your phone. You continue to abuse alcohol and cocaine. This was a sustained incident. The victim was vulnerable.’

In his defense, Joanne Wallbanks said that Fellows had a good work ethic. However, she added that he had previously suffered a breakdown and had self-harmed, as well as having struggled with cocaine and alcohol in the past.

After admitting two counts of rape, Fellows was jailed for nine years and put on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely. Judge Glenn also banned him from taking part in numerous activities with children and vulnerable adults.

Sexual Abuse – Expert Advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk.

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: Daily Mail