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Inquest adjourned into death of worker at Norfolk skip hire firm

PUBLISHED: 12:48 23 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:48 23 April 2019

James Criddle, who died in an industrial incident in Besthorpe. Picture courtesy of Kevin Copplestone.

James Criddle, who died in an industrial incident in Besthorpe. Picture courtesy of Kevin Copplestone.

Kevin Copplestone

A coroner is deciding whether to continue the inquest into the death of a worker at a skip hire company.

Emergency services at Baldwins Skip Hire in Besthorpe after the accident 
  Picture: Sonya DuncanEmergency services at Baldwins Skip Hire in Besthorpe after the accident Picture: Sonya Duncan

James Criddle, 29, from Watton, was working at Baldwin Skip Hire in Besthorpe on May 15, 2017, when an accident happened involving waste-screening machinery.

The machine, which had been bought for £18,000 on eBay, was not fitted with safety guards, Norwich Crown Court heard last month.

Mr Criddle suffocated after his clothing became caught in it.

An inquest review was held at King's Lynn by Norfolk's senior coroner Jacqueline Lake today.

Robert Baldwin at Norwich Crown Court. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodRobert Baldwin at Norwich Crown Court. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Mrs Lake said criminal charges had been brought, with sentencing due to take place on May 7.

She said the inquest would be adjourned until May 8, by which date a decision would be made as to whether an inquest was still required.

Robert Baldwin, 47, of Silver Street, Besthorpe, had previously pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Criddle by gross negligence.

But on March 19, a jury found him guilty of a charge of consenting or conniving in the commission of an offence or neglect to which that offence was attributable.

Emergency services on the scene at Besthorpe  Picture: Sonya DuncanEmergency services on the scene at Besthorpe Picture: Sonya Duncan

Sentencing was adjourned until a date to be fixed so a pre-sentence report could be carried out.

Baldwin was warned by Judge Alice Robinson that the fact she had ordered a pre-sentence report did not mean he would not not be given a custodial sentence for what she described as “a very serious matter”.

Earlier David Rudland, a specialist inspector at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said it was likely that Mr Criddle was trying to unblock the machine, which was not fitted with safety guards, with a shovel.

He said: “In my view if these had been in place the accident could have been prevented.”

Mr Rudland said “many areas of the machine were not guarded so as to allow access to dangerous moving parts”.

He said that while guards might have been fitted in the past he saw no evidence of any guards on site.

He said the site of the accident posed a “serious risk of entanglement”.

Gediminas Savickas, an former excavator driver at Baldwin Skip Hire, Besthorpe, had made a desperate effort to free Mr Criddle on the day he died, the court was told.

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