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Golf company director sentenced after ball collector drowned in lake

Dale Pike was jailed today. Credit: Gwent Police

A golf company director has been sentenced today to two years and eight months in prison after a ball collector drowned in a lake.

Father-of-one Gareth Pugh, 29, died on 11 February 2016 while collecting golf balls at Peterstone Lake Golf Course near Newport.

Dale Pike, of Boss Golf Balls, pleaded guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence at Cardiff Crown Court in May and was sentenced today. He will serve half of his sentence in custody and will be released on licence.

The court heard how Pike had agreed to pay Gareth to retrieve balls from the lake but the measures in place to ensure his safety were inadequate.

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Dale Pike stood by and watched as Gareth entered the water knowing that safety regulations were being breached. His deceit and callousness resulted in Gareth losing his life.

There was clear evidence Pike had made enquiries with legitimate dive operators to cost this activity but he chose not to use them, instead falsely claiming to the golf club that he was a qualified commercial diver with his own equipment.

Our thoughts are with Gareth’s family and friends and we thank them for their support throughout the legal process.

– Iwan Jenkins, Crown Prosecution Service
Gareth Pugh drowned in a lake at the golf club. Credit: Wales News Service

What upsets me the most is the bond that our daughter and Gareth had together is no longer there.

I miss Gareth so much and I just wish we could have him back again, but I know that we can’t.

The sentencing of Dale Pike is a relief, however it doesn’t make what has happened any less painful, upsetting or distressing and it does not bring Gareth back.

– Mayree Worton, Gareth Pugh's partner

These cases are thankfully very rare, however, for the family of Gareth this has obviously been a very distressing and traumatic time and our thoughts remain with them today.

This has been a complex and thorough investigation which has taken place over the last year.

We have worked closely with colleagues in the Health and Safety Executive and Newport City Council and I would like to thank all the officers and staff involved for their commitment and dedication throughout.

I hope the result today helps to provide a little comfort to the family of Gareth, and will help them to move forward with their lives.

– Senior Investigating Officer Leanne Brustad