Miner’s death followed breaches of safety rules

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Courts: Reports from the law courts.
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A SOUTH Yorkshire miner was crushed to death under 100 tonnes of coal and stone in a horrific mining disaster which followed breaches of safety rules.

Anthony Garrigan, from Thorne, near Doncaster, died when the material fell onto him as he worked underground at Daw Mill Colliery, near Coventry, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

But mining company UK Coal, which has admitted breaches of health and safety rules, is now pleading poverty and urging a judge not to fine it too heavily.

Mr Justice MacDuff heard Mr Garrigan, a 42-year-old father, had been helping to install bolts into the wall of a tunnel which had a history of collapses when he was killed on January 17, 2007.

He was one of four miners who died following safety breaches by UK Coal.

Paul Hunt, 45, from Swadlincote, Derbyshire, and Trevor Steeples, 46, from Nottingham, also died in disasters at Daw Mill, and Paul Milner, 44, of Church Warsop, near Mansfield, died at Welbeck Colliery, when a roof fell on him.

Mark Turner QC, for the firm, offered “unqualified apologies” on behalf of UK Coal to the families of the four men. He said: “Our hearts go out to those who have suffered and were bereaved.”

Mr Turner told the judge that UK Coal was in a “very poor way financially” and was implementing a survival plan.

He said despite the company’s serious financial difficulties it was continuing to increase its investment in health and safety and took the matters extremely seriously.

UK Coal, based in Harworth, near Doncaster, admitted seven breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act at an earlier hearing.

The judge adjourned the case to a date to be fixed.