Dewsbury scrap collecting duo cleared of manslaughter of Batley dad
Jul 28 2009 By Nick Lavigueur
SCRAP metal collectors who accidentally exploded a gas cylinder, killing a man, have been cleared of manslaughter.
Business partners Matthew Dean of Ouzelwell Lane, Thornhill Lees and Phillip Jennings of Scafell Court, Hanging Heaton, were both on trial for manslaughter through gross negligence following the death of dad of five Timothy Donaghue.
A jury at Leeds Crown Court took just under three hours to find them both not guilty after a week-long trial.
Mr Donaghue, 35, was killed on August 29 last year after Mr Dean, 25, wrenched the valve off a high pressure oxyacetylene cylinder causing it to fire out of his van at high speed.
He was parked outside Arthur Brook scrapyard in Ravensthorpe preparing to cash in several gas bottles for scrap.
Mr Jennings, 49, was outside the van punching holes in a different set of low pressure canisters with a pickaxe, in a bid to vent any remaining gas.
The duo had been scrapping bottles for several months but had no experience with the high pressure type of cylinder that killed Mr Donaghue.
Mr Dean said he had no idea it was any more dangerous than a standard propane bottle.
He also said he assumed the cylinder had been empty as it had been fly-tipped in Kirkheaton and was in a very poor state.
A gas bottle expert from the British Oxygen Company (BOC) would later say the killer bottle must have been ¾ full to fly off at such a high velocity.