Yard manager jailed for over seven years for shredder death


Yard manager Brian Timmins, 54, has been jailed for seven-and-half years and Timmins Waste Services fined £400,000 after an employee was killed in an industrial shredder.

Timmins was previously convicted of gross negligence manslaughter following the death of labourer David Willis at Timmins Waste Services in Wolverhampton.

Timmins was operating a digger on Saturday 15 September 2018, when he lifted Mr Willis, 29, onto the top of an industrial shredder following a blockage which had jammed the machine. Willis was then seen on CCTV working on and within the shredder, and footage from another camera showed the machine still operating while he was sitting within it.

Willis’ mother reported him missing on the night after he failed to return home from work. Timmins reported the incident to police on Monday 17 September after Willis’ coat was found at work. West Midlands Police then reviewed CCTV from the previous Saturday and it emerged Willis had fallen into the shredder.

Operating the shredder with Mr Willis in a vulnerable position was grossly negligent.

During the sentencing hearing at Wolverhampton Crown Court, Timmins was jailed for seven-and-a-half years while the company, Timmins Waste Services, was fined £400,000 after being convicted of corporate manslaughter on 6 December.

The company must also pay costs of £29,815 to the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) and £1,874 to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Rosemary Ainslie, Head of the CPS Special Crime Division, commented: “Timmins and the company owed David Willis a duty of care, but there were gross breaches of safety standards at every turn. Timmins was in day-to-day control of the yard and therefore must have been very well aware of the systemic and wide-ranging safety breaches by the company, as were its directors.

“Operating the shredder with Mr Willis in a vulnerable position was grossly negligent, and fell far below what could be expected of a competent yard manager in his position. Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Mr Willis, and I hope this sentence brings them some sense of justice.”

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