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Finn to face charges over death of man in tyre blast

Health and safety prosecution over death of 21-year-old nine years ago

LONG WAIT: Matthew Hoare, above, died aged 21 when a tyre exploded in his face in 2006
LONG WAIT: Matthew Hoare, above, died aged 21 when a tyre exploded in his face
in 2006

Watling Tyres and its MD are to face criminal charges over alleged health and safety failures – nine years after a young fitter was killed when a tyre exploded in his face. Matthew Hoare, 21, from Chartham, suffered fatal injuries in the blast as he pumped air into a 5ft loader tyre at a brick works near Sandwich in January 2006. His mother was told of the intended prosecution on the ninth anniversary of his death, just hours after lighting a candle at his graveside. An inquest last year ruled the death of Mr Hoare had been an accident, but the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said it was prosecuting the company and managing director Andrew Wright. Watling Tyres and Wright are accused of failing to ensure the safety of staff at work and exposing non-employees to health and safety risks. The firm is also charged with breaching working time regulations which state employees should not work more than 48 hours in a week. HSE spokesman Paul Butler said:

Watling Tyres
Watling Tyres

“The executive has taken the decision to instigate criminal proceedings against Watling Tyre Service and director Andrew Wright following a thorough investigation into the death of tyre fitter Matthew Howare on January 27, 2006. The company is to be charged with breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and Regulation 4(1) of the Working Time Regulations 1998-three charges in total. Andrew Wright, in his capacity as a director, will also answer the same two Health and Safety at Work breaches. Both defendants have been informed, as has Matthew’s family. The matter is now in the hands of the court, which will serve formal summons papers in due course ahead of the case being listed. As legal proceedings are now under way, HSE cannot comment further on the circumstances of Matthew’s tragic death.”

Mother Carolyn Hoare, was told of the intended prosecution of Watling Tyres, on the ninth anniversary of her son’s death
Mother Carolyn Hoare, was told of the intended prosecution of Watling
Tyres, on the ninth anniversary of her son’s death

Des Smith, who was the manager of the Canterbury depot of Watling Tyres at the time of the tragedy, will not face any charges. Mr Hoare, from Shalmsford Street, had been working at the depot in Sturry Road for six months when he was sent to the Hammill Brickworks to fix a tractor-type tyre on a loader vehicle. He was inflating the tyre when it exploded, throwing him 15ft away and killing him instantly. His mother, Carolyn Hoare, said this week:

“We were devastated when the inquest ruled my son’s death was just an accident. The HSE called on the ninth anniversary of Matthew’s death at 4pm, which is about the time he was killed. I was pleased to get it, but it was a bittersweet moment. It’s been a long wait but I am pleased the HSE is finally bringing a prosecution and a court of law will have the chance to hear the facts and decide.”

Herne Bay Gazette, February 5th 2015

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