An automatic gate installer has been jailed for 42 months for causing the death of Jill Lunn, a grandmother who was crushed by a falling gate. The ruling from the court states that the installer was guilty of manslaughter through gross negligence.
The gate was installed in March 2013, but the installer failed to fit the simple stopping device that prevents the gate from falling when operated manually. The jury was told that the death of Ms Lunn was a ‘wholly preventable tragedy’. Ms Lunn, who at the time was in her car with her grandchild, attempted to operate the gate automatically using her remote control. Unfortunately, this failed to work and Mrs Lunn got out of her vehicle to shut the gate manually. Tragically the gate fell on to Mrs Lunn crushing her and causing her death.
In addition to the installer receiving a prison sentence, his employers were fined £12k after admitting three counts of failing to comply with a requirement under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations.
The founder of Gate Safe, Richard Jackson, commented that “This is a landmark ruling as it is the first time an individual installer, rather than just a company has been found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence – resulting in a prison sentence and sending out a clear message to the installer community. It highlights the importance of understanding what constitutes a safe and legal automated gate installation and will possibly set a precedent for all installers to be held individually accountable for their actions. We urge all professionals working in the automated and manual gate sector to ensure they have undergone the relevant training. First and foremost, to avoid any further tragedies occurring, but also to safeguard their reputation and business from the serious financial and legal repercussions of an accident.”
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