Landlord jailed for death of jobless former soldier

Steven Weedon Credit: Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service

A Merseyside landlord who admitted being responsible for the death of a jobless ex-serviceman who had been doing work for him has been jailed for three years and four months.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Steven Weedon, 33, fell to his death from dangerous scaffolding that had been put up around the home of Anthony Minehan.

Minehan, 63, lived in a large, three storey, Victorian detached house in Park Road West, Southport and had employed Mr Weedon to do some work on it, cash-in-hand.

Mr Weedon suffered from epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder following service in Iraq and shouldn’t have been working at height.

Coupled with this, the scaffolding was also dangerous and hadn’t been erected properly.

The court heard that a neighbour saw Mr Weedon fall from the scaffolding on 26 March 2014. He was found by some of his workmates who wanted to call an ambulance.

But Minehan didn’t want to alert the emergency services, even though there was blood on the floor next to Mr Weedon’s body and it was clear he was seriously injured.

Mr Weedon was taken home but he was found dead the following morning.

Mr Weedon rented his home in Roselea Drive, Southport, from Minehan, along with two other jobless ex-servicemen.

They had been put in touch with Minehan via a charity called ‘Soldiers off the Streets’, which offered help to ex service personnel who were homeless.

In the days leading up to the tragedy, scaffolding was erected at Minehan’s home by Abacus Scaffolding North West Ltd for the purposes of installing cavity wall insulation.

When that was done, Minehan asked Mr Weedon and his two housemates to do some painting and other small jobs to the outside of the building, while the scaffolding was still up.

The men were receiving state benefits and Minehan offered to pay them £30, “cash-in-hand” for the work. One of the men kept a record of the money they were owed.

When Mr Weedon later died from his injuries, Minehan told one of the men, Terence Van-Eysden, not to tell the police that Mr Weedon had been on the scaffolding, doing work for him.

He threatened him that, if he didn’t lie to the police, Mr Van-Eysden would “lose everything”.

Minehan eventually pleaded guilty to gross negligence manslaughter and to trying to pervert the course of justice and was sentenced to three years and four months in prison and ordered to pay £7,000 towards the cost of the prosecution.

Abacus Scaffolding North West Ltd and its director Rickie Lake were sentenced for health and safety contraventions.

The company was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3000. Lake was ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid community work, ordered to pay £2000 in costs and disqualified from holding a company directorship for 2 years.

Helen Morris, Senior Crown Prosecutor with Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service’s Complex Casework Unit, said:

HSE Inspector Christopher Smith said:

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Rooney from Merseyside Police said: