Businesses in the dock after window frames kill lawyer
Amanda Telfer was killed as she walked past building site in Mayfair
10 February, 2017
A CONSTRUCTION worker told a jury of the horrific moment that three heavy window frames fell and crushed a lawyer as she walked along the pavement.
Amanda Telfer, 43, was killed when the frames, which had been left leaning against a wall, fell as she passed a building site in Hanover Square, Mayfair, on August 30, 2012.
The trial of three people accused of manslaughter and one accused of breaching general duty at work began at the Old Bailey this week. Three businesses are also in the dock accused of breaching health and safety law in relation to the death of Ms Telfer, who worked for Keystone Law in nearby Davies Street.
The court heard how the frames had been delivered the day before but were not ready to be installed and were left unsecured overnight as members of the public walked passed.
Algis Tamurtis, who was working on the ground floor of the building, said he looked up when he felt a draft of wind and saw two windows opening on the wall the frames were leaning against.
He ran out to try and stop them from opening and then saw the frames falling down. Giving evidence via a Lithuanian interpreter on Wednesday, he said: “When I ran out I saw a female walking past and I managed to shout at her. She lifted her eyes, she made one step forward but the frames fell down on top of her.”
After wedging the window shut again, Mr Tamurtis, who was employed by IS Europe, said that he “tried to lift the frames off the person” as more people rushed to assist him. But he told the court the frames were heavy, and that he would not have been able to lift one without a crane.
During questioning by prosecution lawyer Duncan Atkinson QC, Mr Tamurtis told the court of how the day before the incident, the frames were brought around the corner on a small crane operated by Kelvin Adsett, before Mr Tamurtis helped put them against the wall with other workmen.
He confirmed the frames “were not attached” to the building in any way, but said he did tape them together before they were left overnight.
“I believe I used some adhesive tape and I wrapped it around the frames,” he said. They also “put a wooden stick against the wall to prevent the wall being scratched”. No one at the worksite suggested that they could not accept the delivery on August 29, according to the HGV driver, who brought the frames down from Leeds.
He confirmed that no barriers were used when the frames were removed from the lorry, and that “more often than not” on other occasions where he had delivered large items like this, measures would be taken to restrain the public.
Damian Lakin-Hall, 50, of Cobham, Surrey, Claire Gordon, 36, of Leeds, and 64-year-old Kelvin Adsett – also known as Kelvin Schultz – of Slough, Berkshire, deny manslaughter and health and safety breaches. Steven Rogers, 62, of Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, has pleaded not guilty to a single charge of breaching general duty at work under health and safety law as an employee of Westgreen Construction Ltd. IS Europe of Slough, Westgreen Construction of Richmond, Surrey, and Drawn Metal Ltd of Leeds also deny health and safety charges.
The trial is expected to last into March.