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Firm found guilty of manslaughter for balcony fall deaths

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A construction firm has been convicted of manslaughter after two workers were killed falling from a central London balcony. Its director was convicted of health and safety offences.


Martinisation (London) Ltd and Martin Gutaj had denied corporate manslaughter and related health and safety offences.

But the jury found them guilty of all charges on Friday 19 May following a trial at the Central Criminal Court.

The trial had been told how Tomasz Procko, 22, and Karol Symanski, 29, had been working on renovations of a luxury apartment in Cadogan Square, London when the incident happened in November 2014.

The men had been trying to transport a heavy sofa up to the apartment balcony on the first floor. According to reports in the London Evening Standard, the sofa had been too big to be carried up the stairs, so the workers and three others stood on a balcony 20 feet above the pavement to haul it up.

As they wrestled with the weight of the 18 stone sofa, the antique cast iron balustrade collapsed sending Tomasz and Karol plunging to their deaths on the street below. A third worker was saved only because a colleague managed to grab him as he fell, the report says.

Nick Vamos, from the CPS, said: "Martinisation Ltd and its director Martin Gutaj showed an appalling disregard for the safety of their employees, with terrible consequences.

"Sadly, this incident was entirely foreseeable and preventable. Neither was it an isolated breach. The evidence put forward by the prosecution clearly demonstrated to the jury how these tragic deaths were part of a pattern of serious neglect of basic health and safety.

"Our thoughts are with the families of Tomasz and Karol."

Sentencing will take place at a date to be set.

NEWS


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