Jeff Plevey: Four men sentenced following death of scaffolder crushed to death

Jeff Plevey was crushed to death when part of the Citadel Church in Spott collapsed in 2017 during demolition work

Four men have been sentenced after a father-of-two was killed when a church wall collapsed in Cardiff.

Scaffolder Jeff Plevey, 56, was crushed to death when part of the Citadel Church in Spott collapsed in 2017 during demolition work.

Following his death, South Wales Police and the Health and Safety Executive launched a major investigation into what happened.

On Wednesday (March 2) Cardiff Crown Court was told witnesses heard workers shout "run", "jump", before saying "Jeff is inside".

Search teams spent several hours using sniffer dogs and drones to look for Mr Plevey before his body was recovered from the rubble.

The aftermath of the collapse of Citadel church in Cardiff Credit: Rob Browne/Media Wales

Keith Young, 74, Stewart Swain, 54, Philip Thomas, 57, and Richard Dean, 60, were all found guilty of health and safety breaches.

Swain is the director of Swain Scaffolding Limited while Young is the director of Young Contractors, the demolition firm involved in the work.

The prosecution told the court that each of the defendants "bear some degree of responsibility for the sad and unnecessary death of Jeffrey Plevey”.

Two other men were also buried in rubble in the incident, but escaped with minor injuries.

Speaking at the time, Mr Plevey's family paid tribute to a "hard-working man who was always the life and soul of any gathering".

The former Mount Hermon Primitive Methodist Chapel was built in 1892 before later being used by the Salvation Army.

The work on the building was part of plans to transform the site into 18 flats.

Before passing the sentences Mrs Justice Dame Nerys Jefford said: "Mr Plevey was described by witnesses at trial as an excellent scaffolder – one of the best. 

"He was obviously popular with his workmates. He died doing his job – a job he enjoyed and excelled at. He was a family man and his family miss him deeply."

The judge said the "overarching" cause of death was the failure to stabilise the wall. She rejected the prosecution's description of Young as "cavalier" but said he could be criticised for failing to notice the errors.

She found Swain made "errors of neglect rather than wilful blindness" and the court heard that Swain, a carer for his ill wife, was left "distraught" by the death of his friend.

The four men were handed suspended sentences and fined more than £340,000.