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Inquest jury says deaths of four men was ‘accidental’

Dan Hazelton and son Freddie.

Dan Hazelton and son Freddie.

Four West Suffolk men crushed to death when 13 tonnes of steel collapsed like a ‘folding picnic table’ were killed in a tragic accident, an inquest has ruled.

Contractors Daniel Hazelton, 30, his brother Thomas, 26, Adam Taylor, 26, and Peter Johnson, 41, were working on a test facility for offshore industry supply company Claxton Engineering in North River Road, Great Yarmouth.

They were in a 7ft deep hole in which a steel reinforcing cage was being erected and died, tragically, in January 2011 when part of the structure suddenly collapsed.

On Friday, after listening to a week of evidence, the jury at Norwich Coroner’s Court recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

In a statement after the verdict, the men’s grieving families said: “We will never be able to come to terms with our devastating loss – four men went to work that day and never came home again.

“The evidence clearly showed that Dan, Tom, Peter and Adam were conscientious and skilled workers and no concerns were raised about the steel work they were doing.

“We hope the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will take appropriate action against those responsible so justice is done, and that lessons will be learned to ensure such a terrible tragedy never happens again.

“We would like to thank those who tried to rescue the men and for all the support we’ve received over the last three years.”

Post-mortem examinations found the men, from Stanton and Rickinghall, died of asphyxia due to trauma.

The HSE will review the evidence and decide if criminal proceedings are appropriate.

 

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