Football club admits failures after goalpost crushes boy

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Image caption,
Casey Breese was having a kick-about with friends when he was struck

A football club has admitted health and safety breaches following the death of a 12-year-old boy who was crushed by a metal goalpost.

Schoolboy Casey Breese was playing football with four friends in July 2011 when he was struck by the goalpost in Caersws, Powys.

Caersws FC pleaded guilty at Mold Crown Court to the safety failures.

Judge Niclas Parry gave the club a 12-month conditional discharge with no financial penalty.

On the day Casey was fatally injured, he was acting as goal keeper during a kick-about with friends.

As he went to make a save, his foot caught in the net and as he tried to get his foot loose he fell on his stomach. The goalpost then landed on his back.

He was airlifted to hospital but died as a result of a crush injury.

During the inquest into his death, held in October 2012, the jury heard that the "freestanding" posts would have been unstable unless pegged to the ground.

The jury decided his death was accidental due to inadequate and unsuitable equipment used at the time.

Initially the football club had denied the charges against it and was due to go on trial but it changed its plea on Wednesday.

Five members of Caersws FC's committee appeared in court and admitted the health and safety failings in the case brought by Powys council.

The court heard Casey and his friends had been playing at the local recreation ground.

'Deeply missed'

It was not owned by Caersws FC but was part of the club set up and frequently used for training by the club.

The goalpost should have had pegs to secure it to the ground and increase stability but these had been removed at the end of the football season by the club to prevent damage to lawnmowers, the court heard.

The pegs were locked away in a shed and tests showed that the posts were liable to topple over even if someone bumped into them or leaned onto them.

The court heard that in addition to there being no pegs present, the freestanding goal did not meet British Standards.

Image caption,
The schoolboy got his foot caught in the goal net before the goalpost fell on him

Through the club's barrister at the hearing on Wednesday, the club's committee expressed their deep regret for what had happened and said Casey was a young man who was "deeply missed".

After the hearing, prosecuting solicitor Simon Parrington, read out a statement on behalf of Casey's family.

He said the family were pleased with the day's events in court.

In their view, the club's change of plea represented an acceptance of their involvement with the goals that fell and sadly crushed Casey and they were happy with the outcome.

He added, losing Casey had been a terrible blow for the whole family and the outcome would hopefully allow them to try and move on.

John Powell, Powys cabinet member for environmental health, said it was one of the most tragic cases they had investigated.

"Children's safety is paramount whether they are in playgrounds or in recreational fields and it is vital that sports clubs and organisations ensure the equipment they are responsible for are manufactured to current safety standards and properly anchored down," said the councillor.

"Today's outcome should act as a reminder to all clubs and organisations across Wales and beyond that they should act responsibly and do all that they can to avoid tragic accidents such as this case.

Caersws FC also issued a statement again expressing their sympathies for Casey's family "and their loss following this sad and tragic accident. "

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