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Mine manager and company charged over tragic Gleision coal mine deaths

18/01/2013

Malcolm McHaffie, Deputy Head of Special Crime at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “The deaths of four miners at the Gleision coal mine in September 2011 devastated the local Welsh mining community.

"Charles Breslin, Philip Hill, Garry Jenkins and David Powell all tragically lost their lives in Cilybebyll, in the Swansea Valley, when the mine in which they were working was engulfed by an enormous inrush of water. It is estimated that in around three minutes, more than half a million gallons of water entered the section of the mine in which the men were working.

"The CPS has now carefully considered all the available evidence in this case, including detailed expert evidence. We have concluded that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that it is in the public interest to charge mine manager Malcolm Fyfield with four counts of gross negligence manslaughter.

"Fyfield was employed as mine manager by MNS Mining Ltd and it is alleged that he caused the deaths of four miners by mining into old, flooded mine workings in breach of health and safety regulations. In doing so, the prosecution alleges he was grossly negligent.

"MNS Mining Ltd has also been summonsed for four counts of corporate manslaughter. The prosecution allege that because of the way in which its activities were managed or organised by its senior management, namely Malcolm Fyfield, the company caused the deaths of the miners by failing to ensure a safe system of working was in place. It is alleged that this failure amounted to a gross breach of duty of care owed by the company to each of the four mine workers.

"A representative of the company and Malcolm Fyfield will appear at Neath magistrates' court on 1 February.

"I extend my sincere condolences to the families of the four men who died in such awful circumstances.

"The defendants now stand charged with criminal offences and have the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice this trial."

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