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Prison for Installer

Last updated: Monday, November 6, 2017 - Save & Share

Gate safety industry bodies have described the decision of a court to sentence an installer to prison and fine his company following a gate related accident as both a ‘landmark’ and ‘a stark warning.’

Norwich Crown Court handed out a jail term to Robert Churchyard and fined his company, Automated Garage Doors and Gates Ltd £12,000 following the death of a grandmother four years ago.

It is the first time that an individual has received a custodial sentence for an accident involving an unsafe automated gate.

Richard Jackson, founder of Gate Safe said the court decision was a first for the industry.

‘This is a landmark ruling as it is the first time an individual installer, rather than just a company has been found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence – resulting in a prison sentence and sending out a clear message to the installer community. It highlights the importance of understanding what constitutes a safe and legal automated gate installation and will possibly set a precedent for all installers to be held individually accountable for their actions.’

Michael Skelding, general manager of the dhf, said that the case had set a precedent.

‘This serves as a stark warning to everybody involved in the automated gate sector that they must ensure all doors and gates are checked for safety against current standards and regularly maintained by properly trained specialists. As this court case clearly demonstrates, both individuals and companies could face prosecution in the event of an accident and giving an individual 30 months’ imprisonment has set a precedent.’

Installer Mr Churchyard, 52, was found guilty of the manslaughter of 56-year-old Jill Lunn, who died in April 2013, following an accident involving an unsafe automated gate. He was employed at the time by Automated Garage Doors and Gates Ltd, and was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment, with the company fined £12,000 to be paid within 12 months.

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