Widow of demolition worker who died after 30ft drop awarded £1m

Gary Robertson died from serious injuries after falling from the platform at Longannet Power Station in 2019.

Widow of demolition worker Gary Robertson who died at Longannet Power Station awarded £1m Family collect

The widow of a man who died after falling from a platform nearly 30ft high has been awarded £1m in damages.

Gary Robertson died from serious injuries after falling from the platform at Longannet Power Station on February 6, 2019.

The grandfather-of-three from Fife was working at the derelict power station while it was being prepared for demolition.

He was with a colleague in an area known as Coronation Street when he fell, after a metal grating panel on a pipe bridge platform gave way.

Mr Robertson remained conscious after the fall, however suffered cardiac arrest a short time after.

He was pronounced dead at around 4pm after paramedics arrived and could not resuscitate him.

The power station was demolished in 2021. iStock

Demolition firm Brown & Mason were fined £5,000 following the incident, after bosses admitted health and safety failings had led to Mr Robertson’s death.

However, after settling a civil action, his wife Karen Robertson has said that the difference in outcomes shows a “need for justice reforms” so that “businesses guilty of fatal accidents face tougher punishments”.

Ms Robertson, 57, said: “Something is clearly wrong with sentencing guidelines because a £5,000 fine is disgusting – Gary’s funeral even cost more than that.

“We need to make sure the laws designed to hold people accountable can’t be manipulated to let those responsible escape justice.”

Recalling her last conversation with her husband and the aftermath of his death, she said: “I was baking for a charity bake sale and he joked to remember to bring some goodies home.

The pair were together for 38 years - married for 33 - prior to Mr Robertson's death. Digby Brown

“That was the last time we spoke. Just a normal conversation… but you obviously don’t ever expect anything bad to happen because your man shouldn’t go to work and not come home.

“What happens after these kinds of things is just horrendous. You find yourself in an unexpected and cold world – it’s all investigations, fiscals and paperwork and the way these people talk to you I think they forget that while it might be normal in their lives, it’s not normal in the lives of those affected.”

Brown & Mason were initially fined £5,000 after a criminal prosecution at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

The sentence would have been £100,000, however it was reduced by the sheriff after company bosses claimed they had no assets to pay more.

“Closure is not a word that will ever resonate with me because I will never feel like the criminal action ended in a way that we or Gary deserved,” Ms Robertson said.

“I screamed in court when I learned about the sentence.”

She added: “We were told that because it was a health and safety prosecution we weren’t even allowed to provide a family statement talking about the impact of Gary’s loss – but if it was a fatal car accident then families can do this, so that’s another thing that I think needs looked at to help families be heard.

“Gary’s death happened to us – why then does it feel like the process puts us last?”

Explosion: The demolition was carried out by contractor Brown & Mason.Stripe Communications

Lawyers at Digby Brown Solicitors gathered evidence showing Brown & Mason “failed to follow expected health and safety guidelines” and “failed to provide a safe working environment that would have prevented the incident from happening,” the firm said.

Innes Laing, partner at Digby Brown in Kirkcaldy, said: “What happened to Gary was utterly devastating and what makes it more difficult for the family was learning just how avoidable it was.

“I know they were extremely disappointed at the outcome of the criminal sentencing – a sentiment that was echoed by the public.

“No amount of compensation will ever come close to filling the void left behind by a loved one but I know that for Karen and her family, their civil action at least provided answers, recognition and a way to hold those responsible to account in a way that was right to them.

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