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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 November 2007, 13:45 GMT
Port fined over youngster's death
Harry Palmer, left, with his sisters on holiday in Turkey
Harry with his family who said he was loved by everyone
A port authority has been fined a total of 100,000 over the death of a boy aged six crushed by a giant paper roll.

Harry Palmer died when the unsecured reel of newsprint fell on him from a forklift at Tilbury Docks in Essex.

Croydon Crown Court heard he was taken to the docks on 29 August 2003 by his dockworker father Peter Littmoden.

After the verdict the boy's mother Jane Palmer said she was disgusted as 100,000 was no deterrent. She hoped firms would be given a strong message.

The accident happened when a forklift truck that Harry was riding on collided with another carrying the reel. The boy fell off into the path of the falling reel and suffered major trauma to head and body.

The Port of Tilbury London LPD had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined 100,000 with 157,000 costs.

They claimed the primary cause of the incident was a result of "the wholly unforeseeable and extraordinarily foolish actions of two experienced and trained employees" who contravened company rules.

Risk ignored

Speaking after the sentencing, Harry's mother, Jane Palmer, 46, who lives in Chadwell St Mary, Grays, Essex, said: "For four years I have waited for some type of justice at the death of my son, Harry.

"This has proved to me that there is no such thing as justice. There is no sum that could be put on the cost of a child's life.

"The only thing I was hoping to come from Harry's death is that companies such as this that flout laws would be given a strong message. That message hasn't been given."

Miss Palmer said two of her three daughters, Katie, 12, and Nichola, 18, who witnessed her brother's death, were still receiving treatment at a trauma clinic.

Judge Stephen Waller said that by their plea of guilty the company accepted that the practice of clamping two reels to the truck and allowing a third to rest unsecured on top should have been stopped.

He did not accept the prosecution case that this was a matter of putting profits before safety to gain a competitive edge.

He said: "I do not find that this was a company careless of safety. The company's failure here was not to appreciate the risk."


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