Splott church collapse: Four sentenced over scaffolder death

4th March 2022

Four men receive suspended prison sentences after worker dies following church collapse. South Wales Safety Consultancy Ltd fined £97,500 after pleading guilty to failure to discharge a duty.

Scaffolder and father-of-two Jeff Plevey, 56, of Cardiff, was crushed to death at the Citadel Church, Splott, as he worked on its demolition in July 2017. The men were sentenced for offences related to health and safety breaches. Four firms, of which three of the men were directors, also received combined fines in excess of £340,000. Mr Plevey died when the rear wall of the church gave way as he worked on it. His body was later found in the rubble. Judge Mrs Justice Jefford said each of the defendants “bear some degree of responsibility for the sad and unnecessary death of Jeffrey Plevey”. Prosecutor Andrew Langdon QC said it could have been avoided with proper diligence, and that there was “insufficient coordination and oversight” in the project.

The four men and firms received a number of sentences and fines during a hearing at Cardiff Crown Court:

• Keith Young, 74, of Llandough, Vale of Glamorgan: 45-week sentence suspended for 18 months after being convicted of failing to take necessary steps to ensure a structure does not collapse. He must pay costs of £66,000.
• Stewart Swain, 54, of Whitchurch, Cardiff: 39-week sentence suspended for 15 months after being convicted of failure to discharge a duty. He must pay costs of £25,000.
• Philip Thomas, 57, of Thornhill, Cardiff: 36-week sentence suspended for 15 months after pleading guilty to failure to discharge a duty along with costs of £20,000.
• Richard Dean, 60, of Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, and his company: 35-week sentence suspended for 15 months after pleading guilty to failure to discharge a duty. He must pay costs of £20,000.
• Swain Scaffolding Ltd (director Stewart Swain): fined £120,000 with costs of £25,000 after being convicted of failure to discharge a duty
• South Wales Safety Consultancy Ltd (director Philip Thomas): fined £97,500 with £17,500 costs after pleading guilty to failure to discharge a duty
• NJP Consultant Engineers Ltd (director Richard Dean): fined £93,300 with £6,700 in costs after pleading guilty to failure to discharge a duty.
• Strongs Partnership Ltd: fined £33,500 with £17,500 in costs after pleading guilty to failure to discharge a duty

Young was the contractor in charge of the demolition while Swain was the sole director of Swains Scaffolding Ltd.

Following the hearing, Catrin Attwell of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “The demolition of the church was dangerous work and the Health and Safety Act and Regulations are designed to make dangerous work as safe as is possible. “It places duties on employers to ensure the safety of employees and others who may be affected by their work.”

Source: BBC (Image – South Wales Police)