England

Fisherman's Friends deaths: Door company fined £30,000

Trevor Grills (left) & Paul McMullen (right)
Image caption Trevor Grills (left) and Paul McMullen died after being hit by a falling metal door

A company has been fined £30,000 following the deaths of a shanty group singer and the band's promoter after a two-tonne steel door fell on them.

The stage door collapsed on Fisherman's Friends vocalist Trevor Grills and Paul McMullen at Guildford's G Live venue in 2013.

Shropshire-based Express Hi-Fold Doors Ltd was found guilty of a health and safety breach at Guildford Crown Court.

Director David Naylor, 57, was cleared of manslaughter by gross negligence.

The door, which allowed backstage access from outside, was designed and manufactured by the company.

Father-of-three Mr Grills, 54, from Port Isaac, Cornwall, and Mr McMullen, from Disley in Cheshire, were at the venue ahead of a performance due to be staged by the 10-piece group.

Mr McMullen, 44, died at the scene and Mr Grills in hospital three days later.

Image copyright David Dixon
Image caption Fisherman's Friends had been due to perform at the Guildford venue

Sentencing, judge Philippa Whipple, said there was no "deliberate disregard for the law" but the company "fell far short of the appropriate health and safety standard".

The court heard the door had been folded in half and was being lifted "like a canopy" above the men when it collapsed.

Two drive chains linking the motor and gearbox to the drive shaft failed, and the chains themselves also failed, jurors were told.

The court heard there had been four similar failures involving the company's doors before 2010, including the collapse of a hangar door at Shoreham Airport in 2003.

The judge said: "The company made some modifications, but it failed to respond more fundamentally to ensure it had taken all practicable measures.

"There was an obvious risk of death or serious injury although the likelihood was not high."

The court heard the business barely traded in 2015 and was essentially liquidated.

Paying tribute to the men and their families, the judge said: "They died too young and I am sure they are greatly missed."

Fisherman's Friends had chart success with a top-ten album and performed at Glastonbury.

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