Page last updated at 15:02 GMT, Thursday, 4 February 2010

Flintshire scrapyard boss admits errors in fatal blast

Deeside Metals, Saltney, Flintshire, where Mark Wright was killed
More than 3,000 aerosol cans were being crushed at the time

A Flintshire scrapyard manager has admitted failing to take reasonable safety care at a plant were a worker was killed in an explosion.

Mark Wright, 37, died in 2005 as aerosol canisters were being crushed at the Deeside Metals site in Saltney.

Its general manager at the time, Robert Roberts, pleaded guilty to safety breaches after a charge of manslaughter was thrown out at Mold Crown Court.

Roberts was given bail until sentencing takes place at a later date.

Judge John Rodgers QC refused to allow a manslaughter charge in the case after hearing that the defendant had been given unequivocal assurances by the Crown Prosecution Service that it would not pursue such an accusation.

It was argued, that following this pledge, Roberts had agreed to give evidence at the inquest into Mr Wright's death.

The father-of-two from Saltney died in hospital after the blast at the plant, which took place as more than 3,000 aerosol cans were being crushed and baled.

Four other workers were also injured in the explosion in April, 2005.

Dismissing the manslaughter case on Tuesday, Judge Rodgers said prosecutors had given Roberts their assurance over the issue.

"There were over three years and nine months no fewer than eight such representations," the judge said.

By accepting that and giving evidence at the inquest, the judge said Roberts had "in effect giving up his right to silence".

Defence barrister Andrew Long said: "The last five years have been a very significant punishment."

Roberts, from Connah's Quay was granted bail after sentencing was adjourned.



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