Ipswich: Haulier Found Guilty Of Manslaughter At Docks

A man's been found guilty of manslaughter after a man died when a pontoon fell off a lorry at Ipswich Docks.

The jury found 48-year-old Paul Napier guilty of gross negligence manslaughter after a ten-day trial held at Ipswich Crown Court.

Police and the Health and Safety Executive were called to invesigate after the death of a 52 year old man at Ipswich Docks In December 2011.

The emergency services were called just before 6pm on Friday 16 December 2011, to a report of two men being crushed when a section of pontoon tipped off the back of a lorry which was parked on Cliff Road, Ipswich.

Neville Wightman, who was 52 and from Ipswich sadly died at the scene, and a 42-year-old man from Lowestoft, was taken to Ipswich Hospital, with serious, but not life-threatening injuries. The man has undergone extensive medical treatment and has now returned to work on a part time basis.

On Wednesday 3 April, Paul Napier entered a guilty plea in relation to a charge of Section3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Today, the jury returned a guilty verdict in relation to the gross negligence manslaughter charge and Paul Napier will be sentenced on 17 May 2013.

Following the trial Detective Inspector Kevin Hayward from the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team who oversaw the investigation said: “This was a complex investigation which we carried out with the assistance of the Health and Safety Executive. I hope the verdict at court today will go someway to healing the pain Neville Wightman’s family have gone through over the past 18 months since his tragic and untimely death. 

Neville Wrightman, Ipswich Docks

Neville Wightman’s family have issued the following statement after the verdict:

“On the night of 16th December 2011, we lost someone very special. My husband, Neville Wightman was crushed to death. Neville was not only a loving husband but a wonderful father to Bradley, our son. He was always willing to help his family, friends and work colleagues. He retained a wealth of knowledge, which he built up from his career, and he would share this with others. What a waste of his life. We are still grieving and others are also grieving with us. It will take time to heal this huge void in our lives but his memory will always remain with us. Those responsible for Neville’s death will never know what they have done to our family, nor the pain we are feeling. However they will have to live with the consequences for the rest of their life.”

Neville Wrightman, Ipswich Docks

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