Nobody prosecuted over death of Radiohead roadie from Doncaster crushed on tour

The father of a Radiohead roadie crushed to death when a stage collapsed has spoken of his concern that nobody will face prosecution.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 19th February 2018, 10:14 am
Updated Monday, 19th February 2018, 10:20 am
Scott Johnson died when a stage collapsed ahead of a Radiohead gig
Scott Johnson died when a stage collapsed ahead of a Radiohead gig

Scott Johnson, aged 33, from Hickleton, was killed in 2012 when the roof of a temporary stage collapsed on him before Radiohead were due to perform in Canada.

The drum technician, who had also worked with Keane, The Killers and White Lies, died instantly after being crushed beneath scaffolding.

Canadian authorities charged promoter Live Nation, Optex Staging and Services and the engineer hired to design the stage with 13 offences under health and safety laws.

Transcripts from the part-heard prosecution case showed the engineer miscalculated the total gross weight of the stage roof and its attachments by approximately 7,260 kilograms.

But in September 2017, a newly-appointed judge ruled in favour of the defendants' application to have the case dropped to avoid over-lengthy proceedings.

Scott's father, Ken Johnson, 65, said an inquest is likely to be held in Toronto next year but he was still 'aggrieved' that the prosecution never went ahead.

Mr Johnson, who works as a safety advisor for the UK scaffolding industry, said: "To some degree after all this time, I don't feel so bad towards the defendants.

"The engineer made some terrible mistakes and that will all come out during the inquest - but no-one will be prosecuted.

"My biggest annoyance is the manner in which the case has been killed in Canada."

Only three days remained in the Canadian Ministry of Labour's prosecution when presiding Judge Shaun Nakatsuru was promoted.

His replacement, Ann Nelson, ruled in favour of the defendants' application to have the case dropped in order to avoid proceedings taking too long.

Mr Johnson said: "I'm still appealing to the district attorney over there to get this turned around - it stinks.

"I just wonder if Scott had been Canadian if it would have made a difference.

"And I'm sure the inquest will bring the truth out - but I don't think there's anything wrong with Canadian safety laws. It's that they haven't managed the case and seen the law executed.

"The irony is that now there will another 18 months bringing the case to inquest and they will have to go through all the evidence again."

He said he did not want anyone jailed for the death of his son, but there should be consequences.

"The fundamental errors this engineer made were terrible but I don't think he should have gone to jail - he will have suffered anyway," said Mr Johnson.

"I don't think he set out to kill Scott that day - but Live Nation owned the materials used and should be heavily fined.

"I just want some acknowledgment and recognition that the case has not been heard.

"It would probably be easier just to shut up and let the inquest bring the truth out but I feel like Scott has been cheated.

"He always liked things to be fair from a little boy and this just isn't fair."

Ken said he and his wife Sue, 65, still feel the pain of their loss.

"They say that time heals but there's not a day goes by that we don't see something or hear from somebody that brings him back to us and I don't see that changing."