Jacob Marx death: William Hill acquitted of all charges after ‘spectacularly unlucky’ New Zealander was crushed by shop sign in 2013
- Credit: Archant
William Hill have been cleared of any wrongdoing over the death of Jacob Marx in 2013 outside of a Camden Road branch of the bookmaker’s.
Mr Marx was killed when the store’s 200kg sign fell from its position above the shopfront and crushed the Islington lawyer.
The New Zealander, 27, had only moved to London from Australia four months before the sign left him for dead with a broken neck and fractured skull on January 28 2013.
He was living in Islington with his girlfriend Natalie Chung.
Camden Council had brought the prosecutions against William Hill Organisation Limited.
In court the prosecution case, argued by James Ageros QC, focused on an alleged lack of communication between William Hill and the contractors who completed a renovation of the store – and replaced the sign - in 2006.
Mr Ageros told the court: “The sign had been dangerously insecure for a long period of time and could equally have fallen on any other passer-by, customer or even employee.”
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He said Mr Marx had been “spectacularly unlucky”.
However, in court William Hill defended their safety procedures and contractor Carlos Park, who fitted the sign for contractor Saltwell, told the jury that, despite the prosecution’s concerns, he had indeed been able to safely attach the sign to the wooden fascia on which it stood.
The court was shown CCTV of the sign falling to the ground before it struck Mr Marx. On the footage passers-by could be seen scrambling to give the New Zealander emergency first aid, unfortunately to no avail.
William Hill was charged with one count of failing to ensure the safety of non-employees and one count of failing to ensure the safety of employees, contrary to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
However, a jury at Blackfriars Crown Court returned not guilty verdicts on both charges.
A Camden Council spokesperson said: “We of course respect the jury’s verdict, but it was important that the facts of this tragic death were fully explored in court.
“The council remains committed to investigating and prosecuting matters such as these when it is in the public interest to do so and our sympathies remain with Jacob Marx’s family.”
William Hill declined to comment publicly when approached by the Ham&High after the verdicts in the case were delivered.