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Fiancée slams sentence given to company responsible for Islington builder’s death

PUBLISHED: 07:01 07 February 2012

Michelle O'Donoghue anmd Craig page at the christening of their daughter, Shannon

Michelle O'Donoghue anmd Craig page at the christening of their daughter, Shannon

Archant

The fiancée of a builder killed on a construction site has spoken of her disgust at the fine given to the company responsible.

Craig Page, 26, who lived in Caledonian Road, Islington, died after being trapped under a crane lifting three times its maximum load at a building site in Hampstead run by Harris-Calnan Construction in March 2009.

The crane was carrying liquid concrete and toppled over, the boom smashing into Mr Page, who left behind fiancée Michelle O’Donoghue and a baby daughter, Shannon, now four.

On Monday the company and its director Neil Harris were due to stand trial over the lapses that led to the death but pleaded guilty to health and safety offences shortly before the hearing began. The company was fined £80,000 for the breaches in regulation and ordered to pay £66,000 costs, while Mr Harris was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay £25,000 costs.

But Ms O’Donoghue, who was expecting a prison sentence and had hoped Mr Harris would be banned from running a company, is outraged by the result.

She said: “I’m disgusted. To just get a fine of £150,000 for two charges is just insulting and heartbreaking.

“We have been waiting for years to see justice served and to get a result like this is a massive kick in the teeth.”

Ms O’Donoghue, now 31, said she was still none the wiser as to how her partner came to be standing in front of the crane.

She continued: “I still don’t know why it happened and why he was allowed to be standing where he was. He shouldn’t have been there.”

She added: “You can’t put a figure on a life and anyone will tell you that.

“He was everything to me – my backbone, fiancé, best friend and soul mate rolled into one. He was my left arm and I’m lost without him.’’

Ms O’Donoghue, who was accompanied in court by her father Michael, who also spoke of his disgust, is now looking into the possibility of appealing against the sentence.

HSE inspector, Dominic Ellis, said: “From the start of this project the defendants failed to control even the most basic of risks on the construction site. These failings ultimately resulted in the tragic and entirely avoidable death of Mr Page.

“The defendant’s failure to appropriately plan, manage and supervise lifting operations on site led to this incident. The potential for overturn in these circumstances is well known, entirely foreseeable and could have been simply prevented.”


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