Farm jury to see death crash trailer

PUBLISHED: 15:52 22 January 2019

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Archant

A jury was due be taken today (Tuesday) to see the trailer involved in an accident that killed a young farm worker.

Kevin Dorman, aged 25, was crushed to death when the tractor which he was using to gather silage crashed off a steeply sloping field at Newton Poppleford on May 19, 2014.

Farm manager George Perrott and the Clinton Devon Farm Partnership (CDFP) are on trial at Exeter Crown Court accused of his manslaughter.

The prosecution say he died because the brakes on the Richard Western trailer he was towing were not working, causing him to lose control as he reached the bottom of a steeply sloping field.

The tractor and trailer both crashed through a hedge at the bottom of the field and fell 16 feet into a sunken lane. Kevin died after the ten-ton trailer landed on top of his cab.

The prosecution allege the brakes failed because of sub standard maintenance by Mr Perrott and inadequate supervision by the company, which runs the farming interests of Lord Clinton’s estate.

Kevin was a former Sidmouth College and Bicton College student who had worked on farms since he was a schoolboy and worked for CDFP for a year.

He was engaged to his fiancee Kirsty Clode and they were buying a house together on a shared ownership scheme. He was a keen footballer who played as striker for Sidmouth Town.

Perrott, aged 51, of Colebrook, Crediton, denies gross negligence manslaughter and Clinton Devon Farms Partnership, (CDFP) of Hawkerland Road, Colaton Raleigh, deny corporate manslaughter. Both deny failing to ensure the safety of an employee.

Detective Constable Emma Prestwich showed the jury a film which had been taken by a Health and Safety Executive inspector five days after the accident.

It showed the steepness of the slope, some of the tyre marks left on the field, and the gap in the hedge caused by the tractor and trailer going through it.

Speaking on Monday, Judge Mr Justice Garnham told the jury they would be taken to see the trailer and advised them to wear ‘stout shoes’ and warm coats.

He said: “Tomorrow, we will be going to visit a garage on an industrial estate on the edge of Exeter so we can all see the trailer. We will also see a tractor of a similar type, although the principal reason is to see the trailer.”

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