Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fatal Fall Fine Angers Father; 'Life Will Never Be the Same and We'll Bear Our Loss Every Day'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fatal Fall Fine Angers Father; 'Life Will Never Be the Same and We'll Bear Our Loss Every Day'

Article excerpt

Byline: Rachel Wearmouth

AGRIEVING father has hit out after a family building firm was fined over an accident that resulted in the death of his son.

Jamie Duddin, 18, died from head injuries two days after falling 30ft on to a concrete floor as he replaced leaking lights on the roof of a barn in Northumberland's Heddon-on-the-Wall in July 2010.

Mr Duddin's employers, Scotts of Whittington, and two of its directors, father and son Alfred and Christopher Wood, have been fined after admitting health and safety breaches.

But Mr Duddin's father Malcolm has called the punishment an "absolute disgrace", adding "is someone's life worth so little?" Alfred Scott had originally been charged with manslaughter by gross negligence, but was formally cleared after a jury failed to reach a verdict.

The court heard the teenager was dispatched to the repair job with below-par training and without a completed risk assessment or safety net.

The firm was fined pounds 65,000 while Alfred, 66, was fined pounds 13,000 and Christopher, 42, was ordered to pay pounds 2,000. Speaking after the case, Malcolm Duddin, of Bowness Place in Gateshead, said: "At nearly 19, Jamie was a young man with his future to look forward to. He was popular, loved by many and a hardworking lad of whom I was very proud. "That he died whilst working for a company he was loyal to and entrusted his personal safety with is, in my opinion, worse than being a victim of an accident.

"A financial penalty as a punishment for the breaches is in some way an insult. Jamie has been robbed of his future, his life, his plans, hopes and aspirations.

"His parents have lost a wonderful son and his younger brother Connor, 15, has lost his hero. Life will never be the same and we will bear our loss every day."

Alfred Scott, of Cherry Cottage, Great Whittington, asked Mr Duddin to use crawling boards to do the job safely, but the court heard his inability to ensure Jamie followed his instructions contributed to the accident.

The three guilty pleas to health and safety charges come after a jury delivered a hung verdict on a manslaughter charge in April. …

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