Young landscaper was electrocuted by damaged cable

A young landscape gardener was killed at work in West Cork when he picked up a damaged electric cable when it was live.

Rory Davies, 25, from Stratford-Upon-Avon, was working at the house at Ardnageeha More, Bantry, when the fatal accident occurred on October 9, 2009.

Yesterday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, the deceased’s employer, Paul Dyer, also from Stratford-Upon-Avon, pleaded guilty to three health and safety offences, for which he was given a one-year suspended jail sentence.

Inspector Padraig McMahon said the deceased was working in the garden that day and power from a cable plugged into a domestic shed supply was used for a power-washer and a cement mixer.

“The cable ran across the garden carrying 220-volt supply to where the power-washer was. The cable was damaged. He lifted the cable around the damaged area and was electrocuted. The ground was wet underfoot,” Inspector McMahon said.

“The deceased unfortunately caught the live wire,” said Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin.

Defence SC Remy Farrell said the death had a traumatic effect on Dyer, who was both an employer and friend of the deceased over a number of years.

Mr Farrell said Dyer continued to pay £100 a week for three years to the deceased’s mother in spite of the fact that for two years after the death Dyer did not do any landscaping work. The defendant also paid £5,000 towards the man’s funeral.

It was also pointed out by the defence and acknowledged by the Health and Safety inspector that the people who owned the house where the fatal accident occurred had electrical work done at their home which was not completed due to a falling out with the electrician and that two other electricians were later involved in finishing the work. The net effect was there was no residual current device (RCD) which would have broken the power supply to the area.

Mr Farrell SC said he was not going to express remorse on the defendant’s behalf as Dyer had said all that could and should be said directly to the deceased’s family face to face.

Judge Ó Donnabháin described Paul Dyer as an honourable man who had met the case responsibly.

The judge added that the defendant was not aware of the electrical wiring fault that resulted from a dispute with a previous electrician.

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