Family plan legal action over tragedy

(Re-produced with kind permission of the Kent Messenger Newspaper)s

A family angered by the length of time being taken to investigate the death of a young Chartham man killed by an exploding tyre intend to take legal action.

Sunday is the second anniversary of Matthew Hoare’s death – yet the police and the Health and Safety Executive still have not interviewed some of the key witnesses.

The 21 year old, who worked for Watling Tyres in Canterbury, died when a 5ft digger tyre he was working on at Hammill Brickworks near Sandwich, exploded in his face.

Canterbury solicitor Nick Fairweather, of Fairweather & Co, Station Road West, said he was issuing civil proceedings this week against Watling Tyres on behalf of Mr Hoare’s mother, Carolyn.

“We cannot wait any longer for the police and Health and Safety Executive to complete their investigation,” he said.

Mr Hoare’s family remain bitter and angry that the investigation has not been completed and they still don’t know if the company will be prosecuted.

His mother said: “I don’t want this going on another year. Our family is destroyed and there is always an empty place at the table.

“I’m angry and I’m bitter and I always will be, but at least if we go to Court and get some sort of justice I can start to put it to rest and move on.”

Det Sgt Ian Cutter of South Kent Police said he appreciated that the length of time was frustrating.

“One of the most time consuming events in this case was the collection of forensic evidence from the equipment supplied to Matthew by his employers. This was examined by HSE forensics and it was not until October 2007, that a final report was received,” he said.

Det Sgt Cutter, who is head of the police-led investigation, said it had also taken time to arrange mutually convenient times for all parties – police, HSE, solicitors and the employers – to come together for an interview.

Final Decision

The detective said the depot manager was interviewed earlier this month and he hoped to interview company officers before the end of January before submitting the file to the Crown Prosecution Service in February.

The CPS will make the final decision on whether to prosecute Watling Tyres.

Mike Walter, the Health and Safety Executive’s investigating inspector, said if the CPS decided there was no criminal case to answer an inquest would be held and the HSE would then decide whether to take action under health and safety legislation.