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Man guilty of manslaughter over death of London woman crushed by over half a tonne of window frames

She died at the scene from massive crush injuries.

Amanda Telfer
Amanda Telfer
Image: Met Police

A SITE MANAGER has been found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence after a woman walking past a construction site died when three window frames weighing more than half a tonne fell on her.

Lawyer, Amanda Telfer, 43, was crushed to death on Thursday, 30 August 2012 in London’s Mayfair when the large unsecured frames toppled over.

Today at the Old Bailey 64-year-old Kelvin Adsett was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence and offences contrary to Section 7a of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Adsett had been the on-site manager for IS Europe Ltd on the building site. Another man, Damian Lakin-Hall,50, was also convicted of offences contrary to the Health and Safety, but was acquitted of manslaughter. The company was convicted of offences under Section 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The convictions follow an investigation by the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command with the assistance of the Health and Safety Executive.

Adsett and Lakin-Hall were bailed to appear at the same court for sentencing on 5 May 2017.

Crushed

Amanda Telfer death The scene where lawyer Amanda Telfer was crushed by three window frames weighing more than half a tonne in Hanover Square, central London. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Amanda, a freelance intellectual property and media lawyer, was walking along the pavement past a construction site in Hanover Square when three large unglazed window frames, together weighing 655kg, fell on her.

She died at the scene from massive crush injuries.

The window frames – one around 3.2m square and two approximately 3.3m x 1.8m – had been delivered the previous day as scheduled but couldn’t be fitted immediately due to other delays on site.

They were then left on the pavement overnight, leaning against the building. No efforts were made to secure them and no barrier placed around them. No checks were made on them when the individual defendants arrived on site the next morning.

As Amanda walked past, it is believed a door in the building blew open in the wind, hitting the frames and causing them to topple. A worker inside tried to grab them but they fell, crushing Amanda underneath.

Several members of the public came to help and together they managed to lift the frames off Amanda. However, she was unconscious and not breathing. Police, the London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance attended but she died minutes later.

Lakin-Hall told officers at the scene the frames had been secured to the wall with a ratchet strap – evidence showed that had never been the case.

Parents

Barry and Ann Telfer, Amanda’s parents, said following the verdict:

“Amanda was a bright lovely professional woman living her life to the full and making plans for the future. Her future was taken from her when she was crushed to death by half ton window frames which took two seconds to fall on her. The frames had been left standing, almost vertically, at the side of a public pavement, unsecured to anything, unattended and with no safety barriers around them.

In an impact statement for the court they added:

“Every parent who has lost a child to a violent and sudden death knows the overwhelming shock and disbelief which is impossible to describe. We saw our daughter on the morning of the day she died.

An hour before she was killed she was with us, telling us about her social plans with friends for that evening and for the weekend, looking forward to some interesting legal work that she was going to be starting that afternoon, planning a weekend in France to see her brother and his family. She was very cheerful, making plans and looking forward.
An hour later she was dead, killed whilst walking along the public pavement in central London. We’ll never see her again or hug her again. We’ll never hear her laugh again or enjoy her company again. Amanda was the best company, funny and interesting herself and always interested in and fully engaged with whoever she was talking to.

“She was very loving, generous and supportive to us and to all her family and friends.”

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