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HomeUK NewsTrainee mechanic, 17, crushed to death by tractor while working on farm

Trainee mechanic, 17, crushed to death by tractor while working on farm

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A TRAINEE mechanic was crushed to death by a tractor while working on a farm, a court heard.
Neil Graham, 17, was killed in “utterly appalling and tragic circumstances” on a farm in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.
Neil Graham, 17, was crushed to death a in a horror accident on a farm1Neil Graham, 17, was crushed to death a in a horror accident on a farmCredit: © Photopress Belfast © All moral and intellectual rights retainedHe was on a placement with 63-year-old Gordon Brown’s agricultural engineering firm.
A tractor had been brought in for repair by Jamie Loane’s family farming business – C&V Loane Limited.
Crown barrister Philip Mateer KC told Dungannon Crown Court faults were reported in the tractor’s gearing mechanism.
Mr Brown instructed the teenager to wash the vehicle before any repairs could begin.
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As the young mechanic was backing the tractor into the workshed, Brown noticed an oil leak.
Neil then rolled in underneath the tractor to attend to it.
Mr Mateer told the court that Mr Brown then “took the fatal decision to start that tractor” – this caused it to jump forward causing fatal injuries to the teenager.
Regarding the charges, Mr Mateer said Mr Brown’s failing included not warning the young mechanic – who was under the wheels – that he was about to start the engine as well as not using an inspection pit on the workshop.

When the tractor was later examined, it emerged that a safety feature to prevent the vehicle being started while in gear had been bypassed some time before it was brought in for repair.
Mr Brown later stated he was unaware of the modification and would not have allowed Neil anywhere near it had he known.
A second Massey Ferguson with similar modifications was located at the Loane family farm, with the Crown saying the company failed to have any system in place to inspect the vehicles.
Mr Mateer said that while Mr Loane, 27, claims he was not aware of the alteration to the safety mechanism, as the main user he was “under duty to make himself aware” of any alternations, and pass that information on to anyone who would be affected.
The prosecutor said: “Neil Graham tragically lost his life as a result of central failings attributable in several ways to the defendants.”
Mr Brown, of Enniskillen, admitted a charge of being an employer and failing to provide a safe system of work and was fined £20,000.
Mr Loane, 27, from the village of Kesh in Enniskillen, pleaded guilty to a charge of being an employee and failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and others. He was fined £10,000.
Mr Loane’s family farming business – C&V Loane Limited of the same address in Kesh – admitted a charge of failing to ensure a non-employee was not exposed to risks to health and safety. It was also fined £20,000 by Judge Ramsey.
A judge branded the fatal incident as “heart-breaking” and “monumentally tragic”.
As he imposed fines, Judge Ramsey said: “I’m aware that today’s proceedings will do little to ease the grief of the family – but hopefully this will give them some degree of closure.
“It’s quite clear that everybody’s thoughts in this courtroom will be with the deceased and his family.”
Recalling the day of the fatal incident, dad Eddie said: “He went off to work that morning and he was so happy, but our world shattered that day.
“I got a call later to tell me Neil had been in an accident in work and I tried to find out what happened. I thought he’s nicked himself or something so I just rushed to the hospital.
“I was met at the door by three police officers and they didn’t need to tell me then as I just knew.
“He will never become a mechanic, he will never get married and have children.”
Martin O’Rourke KC, representing Mr Brown, said his client acknowledged the “catastrophic impact” Graham’s death has had on his family and friends, and also wanted to pass on his condolences.
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The barrister said the incident has also had a “significant” impact on Mr Brown’s health and that prior to this incident there had never been any safety issues in his long-established business.
Frank O’Donoghue KC, acting on behalf of Jamie Loane and C&V Loane Limited, added his clients condolences to the Graham family for the death of a “wholly innocent young man whose life has been lost in these utterly appalling and tragic circumstances”.

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