On 24 January 2015, Mr Tasadaq Ur-Rehman, a father of two, was working on a building site in Leicester, when he fell through a skylight suffering fatal head injuries. A joint investigation by the HSE and Leicestershire Police established that Mr Faruk Patel, aged 40, the building site manager, had asked Mr Rehman to fit windows on the first floor. However, shortly after arriving on site he fell three metres through an open skylight on the flat roof of the first floor.
On a subsequent visit two days later the HSE issued a prohibition notice upon Mr Patel preventing any further work at height. On two further visits the HSE found that work had continued. When the police attended on 10 February 2015 and again found evidence of continued work, Mr Patel was arrested and charged with gross negligence.
The investigation discovered various failings, including no scaffolding in the area where the windows were to be fitted, no safe method of transferring the windows to the first floor (access was by way of a broken, untethered ladder) and the ladders were not secured properly, with one found balancing in a pile of sand.
On 15 July 2016, a jury at Birmingham Crown Court convicted Mr Patel of manslaughter by gross negligence. Mr Patel had previously pleaded guilty in December 2015 to three health and safety offences. He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for manslaughter and eight months for the health and safety offences, to run concurrently.
On sentencing Mr Justice John Saunders said: “It seems the defendant had no idea of the responsibilities he had for maintaining the safety of the site. The defendant paid no regard to health and safety requirements whatsoever.”
Mr Justice Saunders went on to say that: “It is an aggravating feature that despite a prohibition notice the defendant continued to allow people to work on both the first and second floor. The second offence was after Mr Ur-Rehman died. I take into account that he had no intention of Mr Ur-Rehman suffering harm and never thought he might. Nevertheless, the defendant caused a death through gross negligence”.