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Man charged over deaths of workers at Hampshire fruit farm

03/06/2014

Piers Arnold, specialist lawyer for the CPS Special Crime Division, said: "I have carefully reviewed all the evidence gathered during the joint investigation by Hampshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive into the tragic deaths of Scott Cain, 23, and Ashley Clarke, 24, who died working on a farm in Hampshire on 18 February 2013.

"The two men, who worked for Blackmoor Estate Limited, died while retrieving apples from a long-term storage container in which fruit is kept at very low oxygen levels.

"I have concluded there is sufficient evidence to charge Andrew Stocker, former manager of the fruit packing and storage operation at Blackmoor Estate Limited, with two counts of gross negligence manslaughter.

"I have also concluded there is sufficient evidence to charge the company, Blackmoor Estate Limited, with an offence under section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

"These decisions were taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

"I extend my sympathies to the families of Mr Cain and Mr Clarke.

"Andrew Stocker and Blackmoor Estate Limited will appear before Aldershot Magistrates' Court on 26 June 2014.

"May I remind all concerned that criminal proceedings against Andrew Stocker and Blackmoor Estate Limited will now be commenced. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are four national casework divisions: Central Fraud, Welfare Rural & Health, Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. A 'virtual' 14th Area is CPS Direct which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  3. At 31 March 2013 we employed a workforce of approximately 6840 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2350 prosecutors and 4110 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:  www.cps.gov.uk.
  4. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.