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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 October, 2004, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Farm firm fined after boy's death
Court graphic generic
A farming company has been fined 17,500 after an eight-year-old boy was crushed to death by a fork-lift driven by his uncle on a north Wales farm.

Thomas Baybutt from Merseyside was staying at his grandparents' farm at Sealand in Flintshire.

WT Banks and Co (Farming) Ltd admitted failing to ensure the boy's safety.

A smiliar charge against his uncle, Stuart William Banks, was withdrawn after the court heard he had admitted the offence and received a caution.

An inquest in July recorded a verdict of accidental death over Thomas' death in October 2003.

Flintshire magistrates said the case had not been easy to deal with and extended "great sympathy" to all the family.

Chair of magistrates John Braybrook said the only mitigating circumstances were the co-operation and deep remorse of those involved.

The vehicle was not designed or intended for the carrying of passengers let alone a young child."
Tudor Williams, prosecuting

"Farming does, by its very nature, bring together the home and business environment where the risks to children have to be uppermost in deciding upon operating practices," he told the court.

Proceedings against Mr Banks were dropped after the Health and Safety Executive read a psychiatric report and decided it was not the public interest to continue.

Mr Banks admitted Thomas had been riding on the fork lift truck with him on six journeys before the accident.

Prosecuting, Tudor Williams said: "The fork lift was designed for one person to ride. It was fitted with one safety belt for use by the driver," he said.

"The vehicle was not designed or intended for the carrying of passengers let alone a young child."

The court heard Thomas was in the shed where the fork lift truck was being reversed immediately before the collision.

"After Thomas had got off the fork lift truck, Mr Banks lost sight of him before the fatal incident. Mr Banks did not know the precise whereabouts of Thomas.

"He failed to take any steps to inform himself of Thomas' precise position," said Mr Williams.


Defending, Richard Smyth disputed a claim by Mr Williams that the company had fallen far below the expected standard of conduct.

He said Mr Banks, a director of the company, had co-operated with the police investigation and felt a deep sense of loss over his nephew's death.

Thomas' parents Frank and Andrea Baybutt, of Ormskirk, near Southport, had previously asked that no-one was blamed for the accident and that they did not want any further proceedings.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Clive Brookes said: "This was a tragic and unnecessary death.

"It is very important that the farming community, where company, self-employed, landowners, parents and relatives, realise that children are not always aware of the risks that they take when they are, or are on, working farms."

"Farms are clearly not playgrounds but dangerous places where accidents do occur."

Boy dies in farm accident
23 Oct 03  |  North East Wales
Inquest hears of boy's farm death
29 Jul 04  |  North East Wales

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