Recycle Cymru director found guilty in baler incident case

A company director has been found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter after an employee bled to death in a baling machine accident at a North Wales recycling plant.

Norman Butler had worked at Stephen Jones’s Recycle Cymru for less than a month before his fatal accident on 30 November 2017 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Recycle Cymru’s Stephen Jones, 60, arrives at Mold Crown Court (picture: Daily Post Wales)

Mold Crown Court had heard how Mr Butler had been working alone in the plant on the Tir Llwyd Industrial Estate in Kinmel Bay when he scaled a conveyor belt to dislodge a blockage in one of the machines (see letsrecycle.com story).

The 60-year-old, who was shown on CCTV footage walking up the conveyor belt, then tragically either slipped or tripped and became trapped inside the machine. The dad of three was found hours later by a colleague having died from blood loss after severing his ankle. The prosecutor, Craig Hassall QC, had told the trial how “he would have been trapped with no-one to rescue him”.

Mr Jones, of Llanerch Road West in Rhos-on-Sea, stood trial charged with manslaughter in that as managing director he owed him a duty of care as an employee. He denied throughout that he was responsible for the gross negligence that led to Mr Butler’s death. But the jury returned to court on 1 July after eight hours and 40 minutes of deliberations and unanimously found him guilty of manslaughter.

Prosecution

The prosecution argued throughout the case how the accident was wholly preventable had more safety measures been in place.

Norman Butler, 60, died after getting trapped in a machine at Recycle Cymru (picture: Daily Post Wales)

During their case, it was said that Mr Jones would not only disregard measures that were in place to protect his staff, but would “positively encourage” breaking the procedures by ignoring it when they were broken.

Mr Hassall listed a catalogue of alleged safety failings by Mr Jones and his firm. He said he didn’t even have the safety manual for the baling machine nor carry out adequate training or supervision. The factory floor was “chaotic and cluttered” and safety was “shockingly bad”, Mr Hassall had told the trial.

Justice Griffiths granted Jones unconditional bail and adjourned the sentencing of this case until 15 July. He told the court he needed more information about the defendant before making his decision.

[Report supplied by Daily Post Wales]

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