Company Director Jailed for Causing Death After Selling Asbestos Roofing

Company director Robert Marsh has been sentenced to 12 months in jail after he supplied secondhand roofing containing asbestos which lead to the death of Tony Podmore. Mr Podmore had been hired to construct a roof using the materials. As a result of the poor quality panels, Mr Podmore fell through the roof landing on concrete six meters below. He later died in hospital because of his injuries.

The pre-used roofing sheets were sold to a farming partnership for £4000. The farming partnership were led to believe they were receiving a quality product however the roofing hadn’t cost Mr Podmore anything apart from the £250 delivery expense.

The court were told how Mr Podmore fell through the fragile asbestos concrete sheets while working on the roof. The court also heard how Mr Marsh tried to persuade witnesses to help hide the sheets and that they were all going to “take the fall for this”.

Before the court hearing it was revealed how the family of Mr Podmore was told he fell of the side of the roof rather than through the sheets and how Mr Marsh tried to persuade them not to report to incident to the Health & Safety Executive.

At the trial Mr Marsh pleaded guilty to a contravention of The Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals Regulations 2008 and one breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was ruled that the asbestos panels were a significant contributing factor that led to the death of Mr Podmore.

Along with the 12 month sentence, Mr Marsh has been banned from being a director for 6 years and and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs.

Judge Michael Cullum said the actions of Mr Marsh was “wholly reprehensible” and that he acted selfishly to maximise profits by compromising health and safety. After the sentencing HSE inspector Luke Messenger said the health risks of asbestos filled panels were widely known and have been banned for many years.

“Mr Marsh demonstrated a complete disregard for the law for his financial gain. In this case, the weak second-hand panels he supplied were a significant contributing factor to the death of Mr Podmore.” Mr Cullum said.

Over 3000 people a year die in the UK due to asbestos related causes.

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