Page last updated at 13:45 GMT, Friday, 9 April 2010 14:45 UK

Comet admits guilt in Wrexham fatal roof fall

Paul Alker
Paul Alker died several days after falling through the roof

Electrical chain Comet has admitted it failed to ensure the safety of a roofing contractor who fell through a skylight and later died.

Paul Alker died several days after falling through the roof at the store in Wrexham in June 2007.

At Flintshire magistrates' court in Mold, the company admitted it had failed to ensure the safety of Mr Alker, and another worker Aaron Pugh.

Magistrates committed the case to Mold Crown Court for sentence on 6 May.

Mr Alker's family welcomed the guilty plea and said that they hoped that no other family would have to go through the trauma that they had experienced.

He sister Claire Threadgold said he had been a great father to daughter Kaitlin, who is now seven-years-old.

"Paul was a very supportive dad," she said.

Fragile roof

Simon Parrington, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive, said Mr Alker was a labourer carrying out roofing work at a height at the Wrexham store when he fell through a fragile roof.

Comet Wrexham
The contractor was not supplied with a safety harness

He fell 7.3 metres and he died several days later from the injuries he suffered.

Scaffolding had been erected at the side of the store to enable the men to get on top of the roof, but neither man had been supplied with roofing harnesses.

He had not been provided with a safe system of work, said Mr Parrington.

At the time Mr Alker and Mr Pugh, who was unhurt in the incident, had been employed by Steven Smith of Wrexham Roofing Services, who was jailed for two years in 2007 after being convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Comet had failed to control the roofing company, effectively a "one man band" which was not competent to carry out such a contract, said Mr Parrington.

They failed to assess the risks involved and failed to exercise proper control over the roofing company, he added.



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