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Waste firm boss jailed for seven and a half years for manslaughter of worker who fell into shredder

The boss of a recycling company has been jailed for seven and a half years for the gross negligence manslaughter of his employee David Willis.

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Brian Timmins was sentenced today at Wolverhampton Crown Court alongside the company he runs with his brothers, Timmins Waste Services, Mander Street, Wolverhampton.

The company was fined £400,000 for corporate manslaughter and will have to pay 50 per cent of the costs of the CPS and the Health and Safety Executive.

Timmins Waste Services had denied corporate manslaughter and company manager Brian Timmins, of Fair Lawn, Albrighton, 53, also denied gross negligence manslaughter and perverting the course of justice.

Brian Timmins has been jailed for seven and a half years

After a lengthy trial a jury found the company and Timmins guilty of the manslaughter charges but could not reach a verdict concerning perverting the course of justice. The charge will lie on file and there will not be a retrial.

David Willis and his dog Tyson

Mr Justice Richard Jacobs slammed the company and Timmins, describing Mr Willis's death as "an accident waiting to happen" in light of the company's "blatant disregard of health and safety" at the yard.

He said: "There was a blatant disregard of health and safety when there was a high risk of death. The industrial shredding machine was very dangerous and its manual included many references to death or serious injury.

"It was shocking to hear Mr Timmins say he had not even read the manual of the machine."

Though Timmins was not found guilty of perverting the course of justice the judge did take into account his actions after Mr Willis's death on Saturday, September 15, 2018.

David Willis was 29 years old when he was killed, and was described as a loving brother and son who "would do anything for anyone".

Timmins's defence lawyers had claimed Mr Willis was taking cocaine and could have been suicidal.

The judge made clear this was not the case, he said: "There is no evidence that David had been taking cocaine or in any way wanted to end his life in the industrial shredding machine."

Justice Jacobs said: "The court heard how David's mother went looking for her son. You were aware she was looking for her son. She had spoken to you, and you had told her you had seen him go home. There was no basis of fact to this statement, just as you told another worker on the Sunday you had seen David leave.

"If you had told the truth that the last time you had seen him was on top of the machine, then his remains could have been found. CCTV could have been studied on the Sunday instead of the Monday."

The judge added: "This will be Mr Timmins's first experience of prison and will hit him and his family hard. I have taken into account how the delay this has taken to come to court and how over the five and a half years his mental health has been affected.

"For the manslaughter of David Willis I sentence you to seven and a half years in prison. You will serve two thirds of this sentence and then you will be then released on licence.

The fine given to Timmins Waste Services was based on its last annual accounts, where turnover was around £1.7 million with an annual profit of £191,000, and the firm will have to pay six instalments over the next six years, as well as the court costs, which will be over £30,000.