Two men have been sentenced to a total of five years’ jail following the death of a father of five at a building site nearly three years ago.
Andrew Winterton and Dean Wortley appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Friday following a nine-week trial which ended earlier this month.
Shane Wilkinson (33), formerly of Victory Gardens, Crowland, was employed as a grounds worker at the Conquest Homes building site in Collyweston when he died on September 4, 2014.
During the trial, the court heard how Mr Wilkinson had been standing next to a deep trench that had been incorrectly excavated by trench digger-driver Wortley.
When an unsecured trench wall collapsed, Mr Wilkinson was completely buried underneath the rubble.
Despite the best efforts of fellow workers, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Site manager and director of Conquest Homes, Winterton (52), of High Street, Collyweston, was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter – the first case to be successfully tried in Northamptonshire.
Winterton was given a four-year jail sentence. He will spend half the time in custody and half on licence. He was also ordered to pay costs of £90,500.
Wortley (48), of Market Deeping, who traded as Clearview Demolition, was convicted of a failure as a self-employed person to discharge his duty to ensure the health and safety of persons not in his employment, contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
He was also found guilty of failing to take all practicable steps to prevent danger, contrary to the Construction Regulations 2007.
He was given a 12-month sentence and will spend six months in custody and six months on licence. He was also ordered to pay £20,000 towards costs.
Both men were convicted following a joint investigation by Northamptonshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive.
During the trial, the court heard evidence which showed the sides of the trench had not been properly or adequately secured and that Wortley and Winterton had ignored basic safety measures.
Speaking after the sentencing, senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Steve Woliter, from Northamptonshire Police, said: “As a single parent of five young children, Shane Wilkinson had only been working on the Collyweston construction site for a couple of days during the early part of September 2014 because he needed money to buy school shoes for his children.
“His death was an avoidable and terrible loss of life due to the gross negligence of Winterton and the dangerous environment created by both him and Wortley.
“Shane’s death could easily have been avoided if Winterton and Wortley had shown any regard for basic safety measures on the site.
“No sentence imposed will ever turn back time for Shane or his family, however, I do hope this sentence sends out a clear message to others that adequate safeguards must be put in place to prevent people from harm.”