Gleision mine manager and owners found not guilty

The manager and owners of the Gleision mine in Pontardawe have been cleared of manslaughter charges after the deaths of four employees in 2011.

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  1. Hannah Thomas

Gleision miners' families pursue compensation

The families of the four miners who died at the Gleision Colliery are to take civil action against the pit owners MNS Mining Ltd.

Their solicitors have confirmed that they are seeking compensation from the company for what happened to their relatives.

The news comes as Neath MP Peter Hain announces that he's written an open letter to the Health and Safety Executive, saying that 'fundamental questions' about the tragedy still have not been answered.

Solicitors: Corporate responsibility not strong enough

Solicitors representing the families of the four miners who died in the Gleision tragedy in 2011 say there has been a "failure in the law" regarding how owners and directors are made accountable for workplace incidents.

Getting a conviction on a charge of corporate manslaughter is very difficult as the prosecution has to prove the manager’s actions amounted to gross negligence which is a hugely difficult legal burden.

This trial reignites the call for the law to be made simpler and for owners and directors to be held more accountable.

It’s too late now for the families we are representing but this is a wake-up call for those who talk about red tape and for this government who with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have sought to dilute existing legislation there to protect mine workers.

The fact is that the law in this area is likely to become weaker than it was when the disaster at Gleision occurred and, in memory of these men who went to work on the 15th of November 2011 and never came home, that cannot be right.

– Anthony Welsh, Thompsons solicitor

Thompsons Solicitors said they echoed the calls from Neath MP Peter Hain, who wants a formal report from the HSE into what went wrong.

Read More: Peter Hain says 'fundamental questions' over Gleision still unanswered

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Gleision families take civil action for compensation

The families of the four miners who died in Gleision mining tragedy are taking civil action for damage, against the owners of the mine.

Yesterday, owners MNS Mining were cleared, alongside mine manager Malcolm Fyfield, were cleared of manslaughter charges over the incident in September 2011.

Charles Breslin, 62, Philip Hill, 44, Garry Jenkins, 39, and David Powell, 50 all died in the Gleision tragedy.

Hain calls for HSE report into Gleision 'questions'

Neath MP Peter Hain has written to the Health and Safety Executive, calling for a formal report into the Gleision mine tragedy in 2011, to answers what he describes as "fundamental questions" which have still not been answered.

Peter Hain (centre-right) was a strong presence as the Gleision tragedy unfolded. Credit: PA

Yesterday, manager Malcolm Fyfield and owners MNS Mining were cleared of manslaughter charges after the deaths of four employees at Gleision in September 2011.

Mr Hain said he wants a report from the health and safety watchdog, to give to the miners' families, into "why and how the miners came to be working in an area of the mine where the accident happened."

He also raises apparent confusion over whether Malcolm Fyfield and his colleagues knew about a substantial amount of water in the mine, and whether they knew about a map that detailed the presence of water.

Mine manager: Memory of colleagues most important

Gleision mine manager Malcolm Fyfield has issued a statement, after he was yesterday cleared of manslaughter over the deaths of four employees in 2011.

He thanked the jury at Swansea Crown Court for their verdict, his family, friends and legal team, and said "the most important issue is the memory of his four colleagues who lost their lives."

Mr Fyfield would like to express his gratitude to the jury for yesterday’s verdict at Swansea Crown Court.

Mr Fyfield would like to thank his family and friends for their unwavering support through the last 2 years and 9 months. He would also like to thank his legal team of Miss Elwen Evans QC of Iscoed Chambers, Swansea, Mr Owen Williams of 9 Park Place, Cardiff and Mr Lee Davies and Miss Elizabeth Thomas of Goldstones Solicitors, Swansea.

Mr Fyfield recognises that the most important issue is the memory of his four colleagues who lost their lives in the tragic accident at Gleision Colliery on the 15th September 2011 and he would ask that due respect is paid to them going forward.

Mr Fyfield and his family will make no further statement and ask that their privacy is respected.

– Statement issued on behalf of Malcolm Fyfield
  1. Megan Boot

Gleision: Worst UK mining disaster for three decades

The tragedy at Gleision was the worst mining disaster in the UK for more than thirty years.

For the rescuers and investigators, it posed one of the biggest challenges of their careers - and the local community, it provided some of the darkest days they'd ever known.

Megan Boot's report shows the scale of the rescue effort that day - 15th September 2011.

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  1. Kevin Ashford

Relatives of Gleision mine victims speak to ITV News

The families of the four miners who died in the Gleision disaster in 2011 have spoken to ITV News about the day they were told their loved ones were trapped underground.

Philip Hill, 44, Charles Breslin, 62, David Powell, 50, and Garry Jenkins, 39, drowned in September 2011 inside the Gleision colliery near Pontardawe.

Peter Hain on Gleision: 'Major questions unanswered'

Neath MP Peter Hain says the families of the Gleision victims are left with "major questions unanswered".

None of us will be able to forget that tragic September day three years ago, it had a terrible impact on our close knit community, what happened in the mine was a devastating tragedy.

I would like to pay tribute to the families of Charles Breslin, Philip Hill, Garry Jenkins and David Powell, who have conducted themselves with such dignity throughout what I am sure was a painful and harrowing process.

There are no winners in this outcome. Sadly the families are left with major questions unanswered - they deserve answers.

– Peter Hain MP

Police: Gleision relatives 'courageous and dignified'

South Wales Police has spoken of the "tremendous courage and dignity" of the families of the Gleision victims during the three-month trial.

South Wales Police, together with the Health and Safety Executive, carried out a detailed investigation to piece together the sequence of events which led to the tragic deaths of Philip Hill, Charles Breslin, David Powell and Garry Jenkins at Gleision Mine in September 2011.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the families for their unwavering patience and support of the investigation team. They have conducted themselves with tremendous courage and dignity throughout.

I would also like to thank all members of the local community for their support throughout the investigation process.

– Detective Superintendent Dorian Lloyd, South Wales Police Specialist Crime Investigations Team

CPS on Gleision: 'Questions needed to be answered'

The Crown Prosecution Service has released a statement after the Gleision mine manager and owners were cleared of manslaughter charges this afternoon.

We took the decision to prosecute in this tragic case following a thorough investigation and a review of the evidence in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

Questions needed to be answered about the management of the mine and it was right to ask a jury to determine the question of guilt or innocence.

Having heard the evidence, the jury has determined that we have not proved our case beyond reasonable doubt.

On that basis the jury must acquit and we respect their decision.

– Crown Prosecution Service

The CPS added: "We would like to extend our sympathies to the families of the men who died and we hope that these proceedings have at least given them, and the local community, a fuller understanding of this tragic event."

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