Roofing Boss Admits Manslaughter

Man Falls Through Skylight


A roofing company owner has pleaded guilty to manslaughter following the death of a young worker in 2003.

The charge related to the death of Daniel Dennis, 17, who died after falling through a skylight at a Matalan store in Cwmbran near Newport, South Wales five years ago.

Roy Clark of North Eastern Roofing admitted manslaughter on the eve of his trial at Cardiff Crown Court.

The 50-year-old from Maes Glas, Cefn Cribwr, Bridgend, South Wales, was released on unconditional bail and will be sentenced at Swansea Crown Court in a few weeks.

Mr Dennis, from Pyle, Bridgend, had been working for just seven days when the accident happened.

The prosecution follows successful judicial review proceedings backed by the GMB union and solicitors acting for the Dennis family.

In March 2006 the CPS originally decided there was no realistic prospect that a criminal prosecution would succeed.

Later that year the High Court quashed the decision not to bring a prosecution and ruled there had been failures over the factors which influenced that decision.

The plea was entered on the basis that Clark had given Daniel general site safety instructions which included an order not to go onto the roof without supervision.

However, Mr Clark acknowledged in his basis of plea that he owed Daniel a duty of care, had neglected to ensure that the skylights were fenced off and that he had failed to adequately instruct those working with Daniel not to let him onto the roof without supervision.

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David Urpeth, a Partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "Falls from height remain a major cause of accidents at work. As this tragic case demonstrates the results of such industrial accidents can be fatal.

"Employers have a duty of care to provide employees with a safe place and a safe system of work. Sadly, it is clear in this case that Mr Clark failed in his duties to Mr Dennis and those failures led to the workplace accident that caused his death.

"I represent many workers who have been injured or killed in accidents at work in circumstances that could and should have been avoided."