Jury fails to reach verdict in case of roof fall tragedy

A jury has failed to reach a verdict in the case of a roofer who saw his son plunge to his death as they worked together replacing skylights.

Kyle Broadbent, 25, accidentally stepped on to a skylight in a warehouse roof in Newport Pagnell and fell to his death.

His father, Milton Keynes roofing contractor, Tony Broadbent, 61, was acquitted at Luton Crown Court on Friday of his son’s manslaughter.

The jury was then asked to consider a second charge alleging Mr Broadbent had failed to discharge his duty as an employer.

But on Tuesday the jury foreman announced they were unable to reach a verdict.

Trial Judge Richard Foster discharged the jury giving the prosecution two weeks to decide if they wish to seek a re trial.

Kyle Broadbent, an IT worker, of Favell Drive, Furzton, was helping his dad out as a way of repaying him for a Chelsea Football Club season ticket.

But tragedy struck as the pair worked on the flat roof of the warehouse in Newport Pagnell owned by Acctim Ltd.

Kyle died on August 18, 2012, of multiple injuries.

During the five-day trial the prosecution had claimed the Mr Broadbent was grossly negligent in his safety procedures.

He denied the charge of manslaughter and also pleaded not guilty to failing to discharge his duty as an employer. Prosecutor Iain Wicks told the jury at the opening of the trial: “This case concerns what can only be called a tragic death, which came about as a result of an accident at work when he fell from a height.”

He said Broadbent Roofing was a one man business which had been running for 30 years.

He had been awarded a contract worth £11,150 to replace old skylights on the warehouse roof, and had done some work during the week but wanted to work over the weekend.

Mr Wicks said: “Only the defendant can account for what happened that day. He told police that Kyle was helping him inorder to repay the cost of a football season ticket.

“This is undoubtedly a tragedy for him, but the uncomfortable truth is it should have been avoided. If you ask what steps did he take, the short answer is none. He showed a wholesale disgregard for health and safety and we say it is grossly negligent.”

“We say he paid little more than lip service to health and safety concerns. The documents gave an air of respectability to something that was little more than a one man operation working far below industry standards.

“It is his complacency, lack of care and taking undue risks that cost Kyle Broadbent his life,” said the prosecutor.

In the interview at Milton Keynes Police Station Mr Broadbent told the police how, as a youngster, he had accompanied his own father, who was a roofer, on jobs.

On that fateful Saturday morning he said he arrived at the warehouse around 7am and his son arrived an hour later. After coffee together when they talked about football, he said they went on to the roof to start work removing the old skylights.

“We were doing really well. Everything was going really great – the sun was out.

“Then he just forgot himself and just walked on one. He was walking towards me and I spotted it and I shouted ‘Kyle!’” Sobbing, he then told the officer that Kyle plunged through a skylight. He said “He managed to grab the metal as if he had got away with it and then he slipped off.”

The father told the court he felt “guilt” over what had happened that day and he still suffers “flashbacks.”