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Man jailed over 16-year-old apprentice's lathe death in Bury

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image captionCameron Minshull, 16, was taken to hospital but died a short time later

A businessman has been jailed for eight months following the death of a boy who became trapped in a factory lathe while on a government-funded apprenticeship.

Cameron Minshull, 16, was dragged into the steel cutting machine after his overalls became caught in a "horrific" accident, Manchester Crown Court heard.

The apprentice, who earned £3 an hour, was employed by Zaffar Hussain, 59, at Huntley Mount Engineering Limited.

The Bury company admitted corporate manslaughter and was fined £150,000.

The teenager, whose apprenticeship was funded by the government's Skills Training Agency, was placed at the firm by recruitment agency Lime People Training Solutions, which received a £4,500 government payment.

The agency was fined £75,000 for putting Cameron in a dangerous work environment and ordered to pay £25,000 in court costs.

'Terrible negligence'

The court heard there was no safety regime at the engineering company, with youngsters left untrained and unsupervised while safety guards had been removed from machinery.

Bury teenager Cameron was "proud of himself" when he got the job, his mother Joanne Hill said outside court.

He had only worked at the firm for a month before he died from a serious head injury on 8 January 2013.

Ms Hill said: "He should never have died for doing the right thing, for going to work to earn a living and to be trained to become an engineer.

"Cameron's death is a tragedy for us. But it wasn't a tragic accident, it was due to terrible negligence and appalling lack of health and safety.

"We want the government to make sure no other young person is ever at risk of being killed or hurt on a government-approved apprenticeship, training or work experience."

'Waiting to happen'

Passing sentence, Judge David Stockdale QC, said: "These young men - inadequately trained, inexperienced, unqualified and virtually unsupervised - were effectively left to their own devices in a workshop containing fast running, unguarded machinery.

"To adopt a well-worn but accurate phrase, Cameron Minshull's horrific accident was an accident waiting to happen."

The court heard it was the practice at Hussain's firm for young apprentices to use emery cloth on the lathes, used to cut and make steel components, with emery paper while the machinery was still running. This should not have been possible but safety guards had been disabled, a practice that was "dangerous in the extreme".

Youngsters were simply warned to roll their sleeves up when using the cloth on the lathes.

Cameron, given oversized overalls that did not fit him properly, was working on a lathe when he got caught in the machinery, with parts revolving at up to 2,800 times a minute.

His upper body was then pulled into the machinery causing "catastrophic and lethal" injuries to his head and face, the court heard.

Hussain admitted neglect under health and safety laws and was jailed for eight months and banned from being a company director for 10 years.

His son, Akbar Hussain, 35, a supervisor at the firm, also admitted breaking health and safety laws and was given a four-month jail sentence, suspended for a year, and a £3,000 fine.

Each was ordered to pay £15,000 in court costs.

More on this story

  • Bury's Huntley Mount Engineering accused over apprentice death