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Company boss found guilty of manslaughter over 2018 shredder death

West Midlands Police have today (7 December) said that a company boss and his employer have both been convicted over the death of a worker who was killed in an industrial shredder at Timmins Waste Services in Wolverhampton.

Brian Timmins was found guilty of manslaughter

Following a trial at Wolverhampton crown court, the police outlined that Brian Timmins was found guilty of manslaughter over the incident, while Timmins Waste Services was found guilty of corporate manslaughter. Sentencing “will take place on a later date”.

According to the police, David Willis, 29, died after he fell into a shredder designed for wood and commercial waste at Timmins Waste Services (TWS) on 15 September, 2018.

The statement added that yard manager Brian Timmins had been operating the machine when it stopped abruptly and he then used a JCB grapple arm to lift Mr Willis up on to the machine to clear the blockage.

But the machine, which should have been switched off while work was being carried out, was still ejecting waste.  Mr Willis went into the machine and was killed.

Missing

The police explained that the next day, Mr Timmins returned to work and helped “oblivious workers load up waste which would have included Mr Willis’ remains” before it was driven to a landfill site in Cannock.

According to the statement, Mr Willis’ mother reported him missing on the night he failed to return home from work.

It was only when his coat was found near the shredder two days later that CCTV from the previous Saturday was reviewed and it emerged he had fallen into the shredder.

‘Systematic failings’

Det Insp Jim Colclough, who lead the investigation, said: “We found major, systemic failings across TWS which meant workers were put at risk. Risk assessments were not done, and safe methods of working were simply not put in place.

“Timmins’ failure to lock off the shredder, and his decision to put Mr Willis in a position of danger, directly caused this tragedy. We spent many weeks searching the site at Cannock, but only found part of a tabard which may have belonged to David.

“The fact that we could not recover David has added to the anguish caused to his family, and denied them the chance to say goodbye to him with dignity.”

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