Cornwall

Jason Morgan electrocution: Two jailed after ladder touched cable

Roger Matthews and Norman Treseder Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Roger Matthews and his employee Norman Treseder were found to be "grossly negligent" at Truro Crown Court

A farmer and his employee have been jailed over the death of a contractor who was electrocuted when his ladder touched an overhead power cable.

Jason Morgan, 33, from Bristol, was killed at Great Brynn Barton Farm near Roche, Cornwall in June 2011.

Roger Matthews, 48, and his employee Norman Treseder, 55, were found to be "grossly negligent" when they appeared at Truro Crown Court in August.

They were jailed for four years each and Matthews told to pay £10,000 costs.

Mr Morgan was installing safety netting on a barn extension on a work site described as "a death trap" during the trial.

'Life needlessly lost'

Judge Graham Cottle told Matthews: "You knew the only safe way was to bury the overhead power line. Western Power Distribution told you what was necessary, but you ignored it.

"You didn't want the inconvenience of putting the work back. Your stance was to hope that everything would be alright.

"The site was a potential death trap and remained so despite repeated warnings."

Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Jason Morgan was installing safety netting on a barn extension on a work site described as "a death trap" by the prosecution

The court heard the cost of burying the 11,000 volt power line would have been more than £15,000.

Judge Cottle said: "You failed in your duty of care to anyone who worked on the project. A life was needlessly lost that day."

'Never coming home'

The court heard a victim statement from Mr Morgan's partner, Sarah Gane, who said "my heart was torn apart" when I was told about his death.

She said telling their daughter Emily, who was five years old at the time, that "daddy will never be coming home" was the worst thing she ever had to do.

Mr Morgan's father, Patrick Morgan, said in his victim statement that "life is far too quiet without him", which he said had also been written on Mr Morgan's gravestone.

Matthews Plant Hire Ltd and Philip Tucker, 57, a roofer from St Wenn, Bodmin, were also found guilty of health and safety at work breaches.

Tucker was sentenced to nine months, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £10,000 costs.

Matthews, who is the managing director of Matthews Plant Hire Ltd, from St Ervan, Wadebridge, and Treseder, from Wendron, Helston, were found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence.

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