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Two jailed over Brighton carpenter David Clark fall death

A millionaire businessman and his foreman have been jailed for the manslaughter of a carpenter who fell to his death on a Brighton building site.

Michael Holland, 69, owner of renovation firm Cherrywood Investments Ltd, and Grant Oakes, 46, were both convicted of manslaughter at a previous hearing at Lewes Crown Court.

David Clark, 55, died in hospital a month after the fall in September 2014.

Holland and Oakes were each given nine-month jail terms.

Mr Clark fell 4.5m (15ft) when a plank he was standing on snapped. He was carrying a load of between 20 and 30kg (45-65lb) at the time.

During the trial, the court heard a site visit from a health and safety inspector in 2013 had raised issues with the way work was being carried out on buildings next to Stanmer House in Stanmer Park.

Holland, of Kings Road, Brighton, and Oakes, of Elm Drive, Hove, were also both convicted of failures of health and safety in the work place.

Cherrywood Investments Ltd was found guilty of failure to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The company was fined £120,000 for health and safety failings. Holland was also fined £35,500 and Oakes was fined £10,370.

After the hearing, Mr Clark’s fiance, Beverley Clark, said he was “my partner, my love, my rock”.

She said he died in “unnecessary and unfair circumstances” and his loss would be felt forever.

She continued: “The only good that can come out of all of this, is if it stops even one single company from cutting corners.”

Det Insp Mick Jones said he hoped the convictions would send a strong message to the construction industry that the safety of those working on sites should be of paramount importance.

He said: “People often blame health and safety for stopping people doing everyday things but the whole reason is to prevent serious injury and death like the tragic death of Dave Clark.”

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