'Cover up' in death cannister case
Jul 24 2009 By Huddersfield Examiner
A SCRAP collector on trial for manslaughter was accused of trying to cover up evidence after a gas cylinder he was tampering with fired out of his van and killed a man.
Dad of five, Timmy Donaghue, 35, died after he was struck by a high pressure gas canister outside the Arthur Brook scrapyard, Ravensthorpe, on August 29 last year.
Co-accused Matthew Dean, 25 of Thornhill Lees and Phillip Jennings, 49, of Hanging Heaton, had been attempting to vent gas from the cylinders and sell them for scrap.
Both deny manslaughter through gross negligence.
Mr Donaghue was struck by a 64kg oxyacetylene bottle that experts estimated was ¾ full when Dean tried to wrench its valve off.
Dean, who had been scrapping bottles for several months, claimed he had not realised the bottle was a high pressure cylinder and had assumed he could treat it the same way as a standard low pressure propane tank, similar to ones used for home barbecues.
He said he had loosened the cap roughly five threads with an adjustable spanner and a lump hammer and there were still three threads to go when it exploded out of his van in a cloud of white smoke killing Batley man Mr Donaghue.
Dean and Jennings, who both left school with no qualifications, admitted to reclaiming the bottles moments after the accident.