Manchester

Boss faked dead roofer's signature after Rochdale fall

Mark Francis Bray Image copyright GMP
Image caption Mark Francis Bray faked a dead man's signature

A roofing boss forged the signature of a worker who fell to his death to cover up safety errors, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Mark Francis Bray, 38, of Warrington, was jailed for two years after admitting health and safety laws and perverting the course of justice.

Ken Drake, 54, fell through a fragile roof in Rochdale in September 2015 and died from severe head injuries.

Det Ch Insp Richard Eales said Bray's "sole thought was to cover his tracks".

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said Mr Drake was working for Roofing Consultants Limited when he was killed and Bray was its contracts manager.

The company should have taken practical steps such as installing netting, said Health and Safety Executive investigators, but Bray insisted it was not needed

Experts who assessed the site advised that if the netting had been installed at an estimated cost of about £1,250, it would have saved Mr Drake's life.

'Cutting corners'

Detectives who examined Bray's computer found he he altered a risk assessment document "to contain Ken's forged signature" in an attempt to justify his actions.

Mr Drake's wife Ingrid said: "We shared so many memories and it's heartbreaking to know we can't share any more."

"It's sad to know he's missed out on such magical moments in our lives, like watching our daughter get married."

Det Ch Insp Eales said: "Cutting corners in this way is dangerous and can ultimately rip families apart, because it was these actions that had absolutely cataclysmic consequences."

Roofing Consultants Limited was fined £100,000 with £30,000 costs after admitting breaching health and safety legislation.

Another company, High Ridge Roofing Solutions Limited, was fined £12,000 with £33,000 costs after its conviction for breaching design regulations.

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