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Widow of diver who died during training dive speaks of fear of water after instructor pleads guilty

The widow of a man who drowned during an open water training dive has said she now fears water following her husband’s death.

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Roger Clarke died in an accident while on a training dive at Stoney Cove in Leicester

Technical diving instructor Lance Palmer has been sentenced after student Roger Clarke drowned during a training dive in June 2018.

Mr Clarke, a 55-year-old father-of-two from Stafford, was a recreational diver on an entry level Technical Diving International (TDI) Closed Circuit Rebreather Course and lost his life during a training dive.

The dive at Stoney Cove, Leicester was planned, managed, and supervised by Palmer, who trades as LP Diving and Marine Services.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Palmer was responsible for multiple failings.

This included not adequately maintaining and checking his students breathing apparatus and failing to remain in close enough proximity to monitor his student which meant he did not notice the audible and visual alarms sounding on breathing apparatus.

Other failings included contravening TDI rules for exceeding maximum diving depths on repeat dives, and failing to have an adequately qualified rescue diver in the water with him and the student.

At Leicester Magistrates' Court on January 25, Palmer, trading as LP Diving and Marine Services of Pillaton Hall Farm, Penkridge, Stafford pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

He was ordered to undertake 50 hours unpaid work and costs of £3,085.

In a family impact statement, Roger’s wife Angela Clarke, said: “From the day I lost Roger to this day I cannot get into water, not even a bath and I can’t put my face into a shower.

“He was my world. We had a good lifestyle. We had everything. I lost my world and reason to live and all I wanted to do was curl up and die and to be with my husband.

“I have only one regret in my life, not being with my husband when he died.”

Speaking after the case HSE Inspector Richard Martins said “Technical diving is a high-risk activity where student divers are totally reliant on their instructors.

“This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of Lance Palmer to plan, manage and conduct his diving training in accordance with the law and his training agency’s rules.”

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