Manslaughter Denied Over Hampshire Estate Workers' Deaths

A man's denied manslaughter charges over the deaths of two farm workers in a fruit store in Hampshire.

Scott Cain, 23, and Ashley Clarke, 24, were found unconscious in the storage facility at Lord Selborne's Blackmoor Estate, near Liss, Hampshire, on 18 February last year.

Andrew Stocker, 57, of The Links, Whitehill, Bordon, former manager of the fruit packing and storage operation, entered his pleas to the two counts of gross negligence manslaughter at Winchester Crown Court.

Blackmoor Estate was not in a position to enter pleas to four counts of contravening regulations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the case against it was adjourned for a further plea and case management hearing on January 9 next year.

A trial date was set for both defendants of June 3 and Stocker was released on unconditional bail.

The two men, who worked for Blackmoor Estate Limited, died while retrieving apples from a long-term storage container in which fruit is kept at very low oxygen levels, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

John Palmer, the fourth Earl of Selborne, was one of the hereditary peers who remained in the House of Lords following the reforms of 1999.

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