Digger driver sentenced over Mark Handford site death

Mark Handford Mark Handford died in August 2009

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A digger driver has been given a suspended jail term after the death of a young engineer on a building site.

Mark Handford, 22, of Solihull, died from head injuries when he was hit by a digger bucket in Redditch in 2009.

Jonathan Gold, 48, of Coleshill, who pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety of a non-employee, was given a suspended seven-month sentence.

He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work at the hearing at Birmingham Crown Court.

Mr Gold, who was self-employed, had pleaded guilty to the charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act at a previous hearing. His custodial sentence was suspended for two years.

Mr Handford, from Shirley, was working as a site engineer when the incident happened on 12 August, 2009.

An inquest into his death in September 2010 returned a verdict of accidental death.

'Needless tragedies'

Mark Handford's parents, Julie and Paul, said they had struggled to come to terms with his death, especially as they did not know exactly what had happened to him.

Mr Handford said: "Mark was a great sportsman and had an insatiable love for life.

"We still miss him every day and continue to find it hard to accept the fact that he has been taken from us."

Rebecca Hearsey, a serious workplace injury expert from Irwin Mitchell, represented the family in a civil case against the firm which provided the digger.

"Whilst we hope the hearing draws a line under the last three-and-a-half years, we appreciate no sentence could reflect the pain the Handford family have suffered," she said.

"We now hope lessons are learnt by companies, employees, employers and, indeed, self-employed individuals, to prevent any further needless tragedies."

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