Shocking footage shows the final moments before Wolverhampton a worker fell to his death

Waste recycling company boss Brian Timmins has been found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter of David Willis at his Wolverhampton plant
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West Midlands Police has released the shocking footage which shows the final moments before a worker fell to his death at a waste recycling plant in Wolverhampton.

David Willis, 29, fatally fell into a shredder designed for wood and commercial waste at Timmins Waste Services (TWS) on 15 September, 2018.

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Yard manager Brian Timmins had been operating the machine when it stopped abruptly. He used a JCB grapple arm to lift Mr Willis up onto the machine to clear the blockage. 

But the machine, which should have been switched off while work was being carried out, was still ejecting waste.  Mr Willis went into the machine and was killed.  

Timmins Waste Services worker David WillisTimmins Waste Services worker David Willis
Timmins Waste Services worker David Willis

Timmins carried on operating the shredder, meaning waste covered Mr Willis’ remains. He has been found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter. Police said the CCTV footage helped them to bring Timmins to justice.

The next day following Mr Willis’ fatal fall, Timmins returned to work and helped oblivious workers load up waste which would have included Mr Willis’ remains before it was driven to a landfill site in Cannock.

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Mr Willis’ mother reported him missing on the night he failed to return home from work.

It was only when his coat was found near the shredder two days later that CCTV from the previous Saturday was reviewed and it emerged he had fallen into the shredder.

Following a trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court, Timmins was found guilty of manslaughter following a trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court. TWS was found guilty of corporate manslaughter. Timmins and TWS have previously admitted health and safety charges.

TWS yard boss Brian TimminsTWS yard boss Brian Timmins
TWS yard boss Brian Timmins

Det Insp Jim Colclough, who lead the investigation, said: “We found major, systemic failings across TWS which meant workers were put at risk.

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“Risk assessments were not done, and safe methods of working were simply not put in place.

“Timmins’ failure to lock off the shredder, and his decision to put Mr Willis in a position of danger, directly caused this tragedy.

“We spent many weeks searching the site at Cannock, but only found part of a tabard which may have belonged to David.

“The fact that we could not recover David has added to the anguish caused to his family, and denied them the chance to say goodbye to him with dignity.”

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Mr Willis’ family said today: “David’s death is as painful for us now as it was five years ago.  David has missed out on so many treasured family moments, including the birth of his niece and the growing up of his nephew, who still treats David as his superhero in the sky.” Sentencing will take place on a later date.