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Grieving woman seeks damages for partner's crane death

PUBLISHED: 11:01 10 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:36 07 September 2010

Ben McPartland THE partner of a carpenter crushed to death by a crane in Hampstead has launched a legal battle for compensation, which could reach up to £1million. Father-of-one Craig Page, 26, died when a crane toppled onto him on a building site on Denn

Ben McPartland

THE partner of a carpenter crushed to death by a crane in Hampstead has launched a legal battle for compensation, which could reach up to £1million.

Father-of-one Craig Page, 26, died when a crane toppled onto him on a building site on Denning Road in March, crushing his chest and causing fatal injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

An inquest into his death was adjourned in September when two witnesses were advised not to answer questions because their comments could be used as evidence in the investigation against them.

Now Michelle O'Donoghue, 29, mother of Mr Page's one-year-old daughter Shannon, is suing principal building contractor Harris Calnan Construction over the incident.

She told the Ham&High: "I just want someone to be held responsible and someone I can point the finger at. It is not to do with money. Craig was only 26 years old He did everything for me and our daughter and he would have done for many years.

"It has still not sunk in what happened to him. We still wait for him to come home from work. He was my best friend. I am still waiting for answers."

The project involved demolishing a 1960s house, and building a four storey property with a new basement.

Mr Page was working on an access tower when the mobile crane toppled forward and he was crushed by its boom, according to a High Court writ.

Ms O'Donoghue, of Holloway, brands the company negligent, and said it failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment, failed to review previous risk assessments, provided a crane which was unsuitable for use at the site and failed to ensure it was in efficient working order and good repair.

The writ also claims Harris Calnan Construction failed to ensure that staff had adequate training in methods for using the crane, and failed to ensure that employees had safe access to and a safe work place.

It is alleged the crane driver negligently failed to drive the crane in a safe manner, allowed it to topple forwards, allowed it to be overloaded, and exposed Mr Page to a risk of injury.

Ms O'Donoghue is making the claim for herself and the couple's daughter.

An investigation into the death was opened by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) immediately after the incident but a conclusion has not reached.

Previously the Crown Prosecution Service has stated that it would be impossible to prove a charge of corporate manslaughter against the construction company.

The CPS also considered a charge of gross negligence manslaughter against an employee buy concluded that there was insufficient evidence.

Coroner Dr Andrew Reid will review the inquest in February next year but whether it goes ahead or not may depend on the findings of the HSE investigation.

The writ was issued by solicitors Romain Coleman.


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