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Man admits skylight manslaughter

10 October 07 12:41 GMT

A supervisor has admitted manslaughter after the death of a roofing contractor who fell through a skylight at a Wrexham store.

Paul Alker, 34, died in Wrexham Maelor Hospital in June.

Steven Smith, 36, from Rhostyllen, near Wrexham, admitted manslaughter, intending to pervert the course of justice and health and safety breaches.

Sentencing at Mold Crown Court was adjourned until 29 November, but Smith was told prison was inevitable.

Smith, a director of Wrexham Roofing Services, had previously indicated not guilty pleas, and a trial had been planned in December.

But after a sentencing indication from the judge, he admitted manslaughter by gross negligence.

The charge stated that Smith failed to ensure Mr Alker had sufficient training, knowledge or experience to carry out work at dangerous heights, or to carry out roofing works.

He also failed to ensure people working on the roof had safety harnesses.

Smith admitted a second charge of failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of Mr Alker and his colleague Aaron Pugh under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

In addition, he admitted a third charge of doing acts intending to pervert the course of justice - by installing safety harnesses after the accident and pretending they had been present.

Judge John Rogers QC said Smith's guilty pleas would make a substantial difference to the length of his sentence, but a prison sentence would be inevitable.

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