Two builders charged with manslaughter over hotel site fall

Posted On 06 May 2021 at 12:53 pm

The Lansdowne Place Hotel site on an unspecified date in July 2018. Image taken from Google Streetview

Two builders have been charged with manslaughter over the death of a worker who fell from the Lansdowne Place Hotel building site.

John Spiller, 51, and Steve Wenham, 47, are accused of failing to take adequate safety measures at the site while work to turn it into flats were taking place.

The hotel closed in 2013, and the following year planning permission was given to transform it into flats. The work started in 2017, and the flats, now known as Dudley Mansions, opened in 2019.

On 27 July, 2018, Graham Tester, 60, was working on roofing repairs when he fell from height. He died the same day.

The full charge states that each of them owed Mr Tester a duty of care in planning, preparing and operating roofing repair works at the site.

The charge also says they failed to “take reasonable care to plan, prepare and operate roofing repair works” in that they:

  • failed to ensure that an adequate risk assessment with no method statement was prepared for the roofing repairs.
  • failed to provide, or ensure the provision of, scaffolding allowing safe access to the roof and proper edge protection,
  • failed to provide, or ensure the provision of lifting equipment for the transportation of roofing materials to the roof.
  • failed to provide, or ensure the provision of measures to prevent or mitigate a fall from height.
  • Spiller instructed and Wenham caused or permitted Mr Tester to commence roofing works, knowing that adequate safety measures were not in place.

It says breaching the duty of care amounted to gross negligence and was a substantial cause of the death of Mr Tester.

Spiller, of Fishersgate Close, Portslade, is also charged with failing, as director of Southern Asphalt Ltd, to prevent non-employees from falling from height.

Wenham,  of Deans Road, Merstham, is charged with failing, as director of Total Contractors Ltd, to prevent non-employees from falling from height.

He’s also charged with a third count of failing to ensure employees were prevented from falling from height.

All charges were committed to Lewes Crown Court. Spiller and Wenham were released on unconditional bail ahead of a plea and directions hearing on 3 June.

  1. Sally tester Reply

    This should not have happened!

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.