Wall collapse deaths 'accidental'

Hawkeswood Metal Recycling, Nechells Credit: ITV News Central

Five men were accidentally crushed to death after the "foreseeable risk" of a wall collapse in the area they were working was not identified, an inquest jury has concluded.

Labourers Almamo Jammeh, 45; Ousman Diaby, 39; Bangally Dukuray, 55; Saibo Sillah, 42, and Mahamadou Jagana, 49, were clearing out a scrap metal storage bay when they were killed at the plant in the Nechells.

The 11-strong panel found the risk was not identified before the accident and it "caused or contributed to" the deaths of the workers, who were all from Senegal and Gambia.

The men died when an 11.8ft (3.6m) concrete partition came down on the workers at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling in Birmingham, on July 7 2016.

Reacting to the verdicts of accidental death outside court, the men's families said they would continue to look for "justice" following the "very violent deaths".

Credit: ITV News Central

A two-week inquest at the city's coroner's court into the circumstances of the men's deaths heard from a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigator that the site could have "most definitely" identified the risk of fall.

Another HSE expert told jurors "the wall was overloaded and not safe".

The jury heard last week that part of a stored pile of 263 tons of metal ingots had fallen, along with the wall itself, on to the group when the partition gave way.

During Thursday's evidence, HSE investigator Paul Cooper was asked by area coroner for Birmingham and Solihull Emma Brown if the "risk of the wall falling" could have been spotted.

He replied "most definitely" and that it would have been "common sense" to have identified that risk.

Before being sent out on Friday, jurors were directed by the coroner to record verdicts of accidental death.

As the verdicts were read out, the families of the men broke down in tears and one of the men's widows had to leave the courtroom.

Wayne Hawkeswood, managing director of Shredmet Ltd, which runs the yard, said in a statement read to the inquest on Monday that he "simply cannot comprehend how this happened".

He added: "I am absolutely devastated by the deaths of the five men and constantly think about the loss their family and friends have suffered."

Addressing the families, after the verdicts, Mrs Brown said: "I wanted to convey my deepest condolences to you on the loss of your loved ones, who were clearly very hard-working, diligent and responsible family men."

She added: "I hope the jury's findings of fact, on the evidence, will, with time, bring you some comfort."

After the hearing, the bereaved families thanked the British public for their support following the accident.

The families of the five men killed read a statement outside court Credit: ITV News Central

A spokesman for Shredmet said: