Electrician jailed over boy’s death loses appeal bid to reduce sentence
An electrician jailed over the death of a seven-year-old boy has lost a bid to reduce his sentence at the Court of Appeal.
Colin Naylor, 74, was handed a sentence of 12 months in prison after Harvey Tyrrell suffered a fatal electric shock in the garden of the King Harold pub in Romford east London.
Harvey was electrocuted when he touched poorly installed outdoor lights on a low wall in the garden on the afternoon of September 11 2018.
Naylor, who had installed the lights three months earlier, was found not guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence by a jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
However, he was found guilty of failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to take reasonable care to limit the risk or prevent the danger of serious injury or death.
His brother-in-law David Bearman, a fellow electrician who owned the pub, was jailed for nine years after admitting gross negligence manslaughter.
On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal rejected Naylor’s bid to alter his sentence.
His trial heard the lighting circuit around the garden’s perimeter featured “significant defects”, including inadequate insulation to prevent water from getting inside.
Trial judge Martyn Zeidman QC described the pub as a disgrace and a “timebomb waiting to go off”, sentencing Naylor to a year of immediate custody and handing Bearman a nine-year term.
At the Court of Appeal, Graham Trembath QC argued Naylor’s sentence was manifestly excessive for a 74-year-old with no previous convictions.
He also argued that some of the expert evidence in the trial introduced new details to the case, and other work was carried out on the lights.
He said: “This is a tragic fatality that occurred many weeks, on the unchallenged evidence, after he left that public house and – of significance, we submit – before the garden circuit was attached.”
Nothing will bring back our beautiful baby boy, but we continue to be grateful that some form of justice has been served
Lord Justice Haddon-Cave rejected Naylor’s bid to have his sentence reduced.
He said: “Having heard the evidence at the appellant’s trial the judge said he had no doubt that the appellant and Bearman were aware of the danger and each of them chose to do nothing.
“The judge was, in our judgment, entitled to concluded that Naylor’s culpability was high involving actual foresight or wilful blindness.”
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, sitting with Mr Justice William Davis and Mrs Justice Collins Rice, said the trial judge was right to say there was a high risk of harm due to the unsafe lights, adding it was “indeed tragically high”.
He continued: “In our judgment it is particularly important in this case that there was a high risk of harm to members of the public of all ages who might be unlucky enough to have ventured into that part of the pub garden.”
Refusing the appeal, the judges also said the trial judge was allowed to give Naylor, of Hockley Road, Rayleigh, Essex, an immediate prison sentence, rather than suspending it.
“In our judgment the judge was best placed to make that decision. His decision not to suspend the sentence can in no way, in our view, be described as wrong or inappropriate,” he said.
Wednesday’s hearing was attended by members of Harvey’s family.
Speaking after the hearing, they told the PA news agency: “We are very happy that the Court of Appeal has endorsed the decision of the learned judge at trial and that Mr Naylor’s sentence remains one of 12 months.
“Nothing will bring back our beautiful baby boy, but we continue to be grateful that some form of justice has been served.”