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Truck driver admits part in building site tragedy

VICTIM: father of two Justin Taylor died in June 2003
VICTIM: father of two Justin Taylor died in June 2003

A UNQUALIFIED dumper truck driver has admitted a charge in connection with the death of a worker at the Fremlin Walk shopping development in Maidstone over three years ago.

Barry Pollen pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court to failing to comply with a duty imposed by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 when machine driver, Justin Taylor, was killed on June 20 2003.

But the 59-year-old, now living in a Salvation Army hostel in London’s Victoria, will not face jail as the maximum sentence for the offence is a fine, which can be unlimited.

Pollen, formerly of Beach Road, Southshields, Tyne and Wear, admitted:

*Driving the dumper when he was not qualified.

*Continuing to drive the dumper after being told not to.

*Attempting to tip a load when the tipping area of the spoil heap was congested with material.

Mr Taylor, a 29-year-old father-of-two, of Melford Drive, Barming, Maidstone, died three months after work began on the £100m development.

Pollen will not be sentenced until after the trial of Principal contractor Miller Construction (UK) Ltd and Sean Mongan, 49, of Upland Grove, Leeds, West Yorkshire, on May 14 next year.

Miller and Mongan have denied a similar charge and the company further denied failing to comply with a Health and Safety regulation.

Miller is alleged to have failed to ensure that workers on the site had the appropriate qualifications for driving certain vehicles, that adequate training was given and to ensure the safety of operations on the site.

Mongan is accused of authorising Pollen to drive the dumper when he knew he was not qualified, failing to prevent him from driving it when he had been ordered not to and to address dangerous practices on the site.

Pollen, said to be on income support and receiving treatment for depression, was granted bail conditional on residence.

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