South West Wales

Gleision deaths: Malcolm Fyfield checked for 'danger'

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Media captionThe jury heard that Mr Fyfield still suffers from severe post traumatic stress disorder

The manager of a mine where four workers drowned checked three times for any signs of water or danger the day before it flooded, a court has heard.

Malcolm Fyfield has suffered severe post traumatic stress disorder since surviving the flooded Gleision drift mine in September 2011.

He told Swansea Crown Court the only sign of water near the point being mined was "ponding" on the ground.

Mr Fyfield and owners MNS Mining Ltd deny manslaughter charges.

David Powell, 50, Charles Breslin, 62, Philip Hill, 44, and Garry Jenkins, 39, died when 650,000 gallons of water rushed into the area they were working in after they blasted into a flooded old section of the pit.

Mr Fyfield managed to escape and spent 12 days in hospital recovering from a broken hand and bruising and swelling as a result of a "near-drowning experience".

The former mine manager insisted he had not inspected the wrong part of the mine and said he was sure he was not mistaken because of the angle and gradient of the underground road.

The jury was told Mr Fyfield also suffers from "survivor guilt" and certain words used to describe the flooded mine trigger a feeling of being back in the pit.

Image copyright South wales police
Image caption Garry Jenkins, 39, Philip Hill, 44, David Powell, 50, and Charles Breslin, 62, were killed in the mine

Elwen Evans, QC, defending, told the court that "ponding" water found in the area before the controlled explosion was not unusual and Mr Fyfield did not think it was particularly significant.

Miss Evans reminded the jury Mr Fyfield was working alongside the men, adding: "It would have been incredibly reckless to make the breakthrough at a location he had not inspected, putting at risk the lives of four men as well as his own.

"We are dealing with someone whose reputation was as sky high as it comes.

"Year after year he did everything by the book. He knew how to do it, but this time he did not? It does not make sense."

Miss Evans asked the jury to decide the case according to the facts and to not base their verdicts on emotion.

The trial continues.

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