Firm guilty over death of Everton teenager

Court news
Court news

The employer of an Everton teenager who died when his tractor was crushed almost flat in a crash has been found guilty of health and safety breaches.

Harry Christian-Allan, who worked for G W Topham and Son’s was driving a tractor hitched to a faulty trailer when he crashed.

The 19-year-old was seriously injured in the accident on the A1 and later died at Addenbrooke’s on August 1, 2014.

During the course of the trial, Cambridge Crown Court heard how on the day he died, Harry had volunteered to stay behind and do an extra job after workers were given the option of heading home early.

Despite having his own trailer, he was advised to hitch his tractor up to a different trailer after he reported a problem with his own equipment.

The court heard the brakes on the trailer Harry subsequently used were not up to scratch and were poorly maintained by untrained employees.

Experts said the trailer was “dangerous” and not legally fit for the roads.

However, farm manager Jonathan Payne told the court he had no reason to doubt any site workers who checked the equipment.

During the trial witnesses told the court they saw Harry’s trailer lose control on a downhill section of road.

Witnesses explained the trailer began to weave before it “ploughed” into a bridge abutment near Alconbury.

GW Topham, an agriculture and haulage firm, were taken to court by the Health and Safety Executive and charged with failing to ensure the health and safety at work of all of their employees and failing to maintain road equipment, and not maintaining to a sufficient standard and keep in good repair equipment, namely a blue trailer.

The jury at Cambridge Crown Court took just two-and-a-half hours to return unanimous guilty verdicts on both charges.

The company will be sentenced on April 17 at the crown court.

>An inquest into Harry’s death held in November 2015, ruled that he had died from multiple injuries.

The court heard how Harry, from Sandy Road, Everton, had grown up with a farming family and had been driving tractors since a young age and was involved in the Bedford Young Farmers’ Club.