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‘Defective’ lighting killed boy, 7, in pub garden

A smiling seven-year-old boy
Harvey Tyrrell, died when simultaneously touched the cabling connected the exterior lighting and a metal fence at the King Harold public house in Romford in 2018. Credit: SWNS

A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD boy was electrocuted by ‘defective’ lighting in the garden of an Essex pub, a court has heard.

Harvey Tyrrell, died when simultaneously touched the cabling connected the exterior lighting and a metal fence at the King Harold public house in Romford in 2018. 

This week Colin Naylor, the 73-year-old electrician responsible for installing and checking the lighting at the premises, went on trial on a charge of manslaughter by gross negligence and failing to discharge his duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work Act. He denies both charges. 

Already, David Bearman, the pub’s owner and brother in law of Naylor, pleaded guilty to Harvey’s manslaughter.

The court heard that Tyrrell was at the King Harold with his mother and father when he sat on the garden wall.

Duncan Penny QC, prosecuting, told the court: ‘In essence, when young Harvey both touched one of the garden lights by sitting on it and took hold of some nearby metal railings it seems clear that electricity then flowed through his body, causing fatal damage.’

The court was told that Tyrrell had been playing in the pub garden with a friend.

A probe following the death found 12 defects at the King Harold that posed a risk of injury including electric shock, and 32 potentially dangerous defects.

Penny said: ‘Harvey was sitting on one of the lamps in the garden and gripping on to the nearby railing with his hands.

He became was unresponsive ‘leaning backwards with his head hanging back, face-up’ when offered a crisp by his friend.

He then collapsed after about 30 seconds ‘in front of another boy with whom he was playing’, Penny said.

The lights had ‘significant defects’, including inadequate insulation to prevent water from getting inside.

A probe following the death found 12 defects at the King Harold that posed a risk of injury including electric shock, and 32 potentially dangerous defects.

Crucially, Bearman had been warned about ‘numerous electrical defects’ by officers from the London Borough of Havering in January 2009.

No further investigation followed. In 2003, the regulations were changed and put the responsibility  to organise inspections on property owners.

The jury was later told that Bearman was ‘blown across the cellar’ after touching a fuse box at the pub in the summer of 2018, leaving him with a very large purple injury on his left arm.

In an interview with the police, Naylor – of Rayleigh, Essex – said he was aware of the injury but that he was not aware it related to an issue with the electricity supply.

The trial continues this week.