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Gateshead workers who fitted William Hill sign which crushed man ‘wouldn’t have checked for rot’



The workers of a Gateshead -based firm which fitted a 200kg sign which crushed and killed a young lawyer after falling from the front of a betting shop would not have checked the building for rot, a court has heard.

Jacob Marx had been living and working in London for four months when he was killed after the sign above a William Hill bookmakers fell and struck him in 2013.

The court heard the sign over the bookies in Camden Road, north London, had been “dangerously insecure for a long period of time” when it fell two metres on to the 27-year-old from New Zealand, breaking his neck and fracturing his skull.

He was rushed to hospital but died an hour later on the evening of January 28.

The bookmaker had enlisted various subcontractors to carry out the fittings, with work starting on the sign in 2006, jurors heard.

A former manager of Saltwell Signs – based in Team Valley – told Blackfriars Crown Court his team would have only checked the fascia, not the structure, when putting up the sign which killed Mr Marx.

Giving evidence on Monday, former Saltwell Signs factory manager Terrance English said the firm’s sign-fitters would only have checked the fascia for rot.

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He added: “As he is taking the sign down you get an indication of how sound the fascia is. If the sign just falls off you know the fascia is going to be rotten.”

But Mr English told a jury of six men and six women his team from the sign manufacturers would not have been expected to check below the frontage.

When asked by John Cooper, defending William Hill, if the fitter had no responsibility for the structure below, he added: “Yes, just the fascia, not the structure itself.”

William Hill denies breaching health and safety duties in regard to both employees and non-employees in the case, which was brought by Camden Borough Council.

Opening the prosecution case last month, James Ageros QC told jurors: “The sign was insecurely fixed on to a wooden subframe, and parts of the subframe were insecurely fixed to each other.

“The sign had been dangerously insecure for a long period of time and could equally have fallen on any other passerby, customer or indeed employee.”

William Hill Organisation Ltd has denied one count of failing to ensure the safety of non-employees and one count of failing to ensure the safety of employees, both contrary to the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The trial continues.


Source : Chroniclelive

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