Electrician cleared of manslaughter of Harvey Tyrrell but guilty of failing to discharge a duty.

The 73 year old electrician who poorly installed the lights at the King Harold Pub in Harold Wood was yesterday found not guilty of the manslaughter of seven year old Harvey Tyrell. Colin Naylor from Rayleigh was found guilty of failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety Act at Work Act.

He was bailed to appear for sentencing at the same court on a date to be confirmed.

Seven year old Harvey died after suffering a fatal electric shock when he sat on the wall at the Harold Wood pub on September 11, 2018. Harvey is believed to have reached out and touched one of the lights out in the pub garden and at the same time holding on to metal railings.

The community have been angered by the verdict that yesterday saw the 73 year old cleared of manslaughter at Snaresbrook Crown Court. The Rayleigh man has denied any wrong doings and actually told the police that his work was ‘first class.’

Police were called by the London Ambulance Service (LAS) to The King Harold public house in Station Road, Romford, shortly after 17:20hrs on 11 September 2018.

Officers and LAS attended and found seven-year-old Harvey Tyrrell, who was from Harold Wood, unresponsive. Harvey was taken to an east London hospital where he was pronounced dead that evening.

A special post-mortem took place on 13 September 2018 at St Thomas’ Hospital. It found the cause of his death was electrocution.

An investigation was launched by detectives from the Met’s East Area Command. During the course of their enquiries it was discovered that while playing with a friend in the garden at the pub, Harvey had sat on a light and touched a railing causing him an electric shock that proved fatal. 

The electrical installation of the light and a significant amount of electrical maintenance at the property had been completed by Naylor. The light that caused Harvey’s death had been fitted by Naylor just three months previously, in June 2018.

On inspection, it was found that the metal casing of the light was live with electricity, having not been sufficiently earthed or insulated against water ingress.

Naylor claims to have 50 years’ experience as a qualified electrician. He admitted that in April 2018, he had carried out work at the premises and had viewed one of the electrical distribution boards. He said this gave him cause to ‘raise his eyebrows’, but having spoken to the owner of the pub he took the decision ‘not to get involved in that side of things.’

The inspection conducted following Harvey’s tragic death found that the entire distribution board serving the garden lights was not earthed.

Detective Sergeant Andy McAlister said: “As a qualified electrician, Naylor had not only the ability, but also the responsibility, to ensure that the work he completed didn’t pose a risk to those visiting the venue.

“Expert examination of the electrical system identified a variety of modifications that were far below an acceptable safety standard. Naylor made it clear in his police interview that he did not think the safety of the electrical system as a whole was his responsibility.

“The decision he made to continue with the installation, regardless of the dangerous wiring already present, cost the life of an innocent child and has devastated a family.”

Speaking on behalf of Harvey’s family, his parents (Lewis Tyrrell and Danielle Jones) said: “After two and a half years of heartbreak since losing our beautiful baby boy Harvey, we are grateful to the jury for finding Colin Naylor guilty of the part he played in our precious son’s death.

“We are grateful to our community, the police and the prosecution team for all their support during our tragic ordeal. As a family we need some time to reflect on this outcome.”

The pub’s owner, David Bearman, 73 (01.11.47) of Ardleigh Green Road, Hornchurch, pleaded guilty to gross negligence manslaughter in March 2020 at the Old Bailey. He has been bailed for sentencing at Snaresbrook Crown Court on a date to be confirmed.

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