Yard manager sentenced to prison after employee dealth in industrial shredder

Brian Timmins

Yard manager Brian Timmins has been sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison and Timmins Waste Services has been fined £400,000 following the death of labourer David Willis in an industrial shredder.

Brian Timmins, aged 54, had previously been found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter in connection to the death of labourer David Willis at Timmins Waste Services in Wolverhampton.

On Saturday, September 15, 2018, Timmins operated a digger, lifting 29-year-old Willis onto the industrial shredder’s top after the machine became blocked and jammed.

Timmins reported the incident after finding Willis’ coat at work.

The sentencing took place at Wolverhampton Crown Court, where the company was convicted of corporate manslaughter on December 6, while Timmins was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter.

Additionally, the company is required to pay costs of £29,815 to the CPS and £1,874 to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The prosecution resulted from an investigation by West Midlands Police and the HSE.

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS special crime division, said: “Timmins and the company owed David Willis a duty of care, but there were gross breaches of safety standards at every turn.

“Timmins was in day-to-day control of the yard and therefore must have been very well aware of the systemic and wide-ranging safety breaches by the company, as were its directors. Operating the shredder with Mr Willis in a vulnerable position was grossly negligent, and fell far below what could be expected of a competent yard manager in his position. Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Mr Willis, and I hope this sentence brings them some sense of justice.”

Gail Bell, HSE inspector, said: “This was a tragic incident. Mr Willis’ death could have been prevented if Timmins Waste Services had implemented a safe system of work and safely isolated the waste shredder. Our thoughts remain with the friends and family of Mr Willis.”