Devon

Ex-UKIP candidate Keith Crawford jailed over builder's death

Keith Crawford
Image caption Keith Crawford stood as a candidate for UKIP in the 2015 general election

A former UKIP candidate has been jailed for causing the death of a worker who was crushed in a trench.

Keith Crawford, 74, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for gross negligence manslaughter and failing to ensure the safety of an employee.

Peter Clements was trapped under mud after a 9ft (2.7m) trench he was digging next to Crawford's swimming pool in Devon caved in on him in 2015.

Crawford, of Ide, will also have to pay the prosecution's costs of £15,000.

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Mr Clements, 48, was buried and crushed when the trench for a drain he was excavating collapsed on top of him, covering him in tonnes of earth.

Keith Crawford was accused of ignoring safety warnings and refusing to hire equipment which would have prevented the tragedy.

Image copyright Irving of Exeter
Image caption Keith Crawford has a rental property portfolio worth £7m but said in court that he did not consider himself wealthy

Peter Clements was working with his son Ryan, who escaped and tried to save his father by pulling him out with a strap around his chest attached to a digger arm.

Mr Clements suffered several broken ribs and other crush injuries, and died from cardiac arrest in hospital three days later.

Passing sentence at Bristol Crown Court, Mr Justice Dingemans said: "No sentence I can impose can reflect the loss to Mr Clements's wife Amanda and her family."

Richard Smith QC, defending, provided several character references on behalf of his client and said Mr Crawford would find a prison sentence "more difficult" than a younger man because of his age.

"What he did was completely out of character," he said. "Perhaps it was petulant, perhaps ill-thought.

"Now he will have to live with it for the rest of his life."

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