‘Dad left his son to die’

Shaun Stewart
Shaun Stewart
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A father is charged with the manslaughter of his own son – who he left dying in a field from electric shock after the pair went out stealing cable, a court heard.

Shaun Stewart, aged 52, is charged over the death of his son Brent Campbell, a 29-year-old former soldier electrocuted by 11,000 volts.

Stewart himself suffered third-degree burns to his leg, face and neck – but returned home to his wife without their son, and claimed he could not remember what had happened.

He denies manslaughter and attempted theft.

Sheffield Crown Court heard the pair travelled to Tyers Hall pumping station in Darfield, Barnsley, a Northern Power Grid circuit breaker which provides electricity to 3,000 customers, in March 2012.

They intended to steal what they believed was valuable copper cable, the court was told.

In fact the overhead cable was made of aluminium – worth considerably less.

To get to the metal the pair sawed down a pole supporting three overhead cables, so the power would short-circuit and be safe to touch.

But prosecutors say what father-and-son did not realise is that lines are automatically energised three minutes after a short-circuit occurs.

As a result, Brent Campbell suffered a fatal electric shock – and his father severe injuries.

Once Stewart got home to Lord Street, Hoyle Mill, an ambulance was called, and he was taken to Barnsley Hospital for treatment.

Soon afterwards reports came in to police from Northern Power Grid that a body had been discovered in a field, and a power cut had affected more than 2,000 homes. Electrical cable was found coiled around the body of Brent Campbell, of Tuxford Crescent, Lundwood, Barnsley.

The court heard he might have survived if his body had been removed from the scene immediately.

Simon Phillips, prosecuting, said: “When a police officer attended Barnsley Hospital he asked the defendant how he had got his injuries.

“Stewart told him he and his son had been out together, and they had seen torch lights in a field and heard a man shouting.

“All Stewart claimed to remember after that was coming round, and not being able to find his son.”

Forty-one hours later, Stewart was interviewed by police again.

“He admitted he and his son were there to steal cable,” Mr Phillips said. “He said he had suggested the idea to his son, he said they both needed money.

“Stewart told police their intention had been to take the cable to a scrap metal merchant.

“But the cable was not made of copper, it was made of aluminium – worth much less.

“He said his previous account had been a lie as he had not realised his son was dead, and he did not want to get him into trouble.”

Mr Phillips added: “The fact Brent Campbell agreed to go along with the enterprise is not a defence for Shaun Stewart.

“If both men were involved and one of them is killed, the law says the survivor will be responsible for the manslaughter.”

The trial continues.