Over the past 10 years BWTUC have supported the campaign and the families involved. At Lilianas request BWTUC will be organising a demonstration, in order to highlight the governments continued woeful failure to regulate crane use in this country.
Outside Crown Court Southwark (1 English Grounds, Southwark, London SE1 2HU)
Firm faces hefty fine after admitting responsibility for crane collapse that left two dead
Michael Alexa died while fixing his car next to site where the crane collapsed
A crane hire firm is facing a hefty fine after admitting responsibility for a catastrophic collapse in Battersea that left two people dead.
Michael Alexa, 23, and Jonathan Cloke, 37, were both killed when an overloaded 165ft crane crashed the ground in Battersea, south London, in September 2006.
Mr Cloke, the crane operator, died at the controls of the machine, while Mr Alexa, a bus driver, was changing a wheel on his car when he was crushed to death by the falling structure.
The families of both men were forced to wait nearly six years for an inquest, and have endured ten years hoping those responsible would be brought to justice.
Today at Southwark Crown Court, Falcon Crane Hire Limited admitted two health and safety breaches that led to the disaster, in a deal that saw charges dropped against its managing director Douglas Genge, 71.
The structure, being used on a Barratt Homes development on the site of a former school in Thessaly Road, Battersea, had been badly overloaded with twelves tonnes of counterweights instead of eight.
The inquest heard the mistake was made by Falcon Crane Hire Limited, because it had used the wrong instruction manual when erecting the crane.
Health and Safety Executive inspector Brent Bolton told Westminster Coroners' Court the extra weight would have increased the tension on a crucial set of bolts by "100-plus per cent".
The company had also failed to investigate why four bolts on the crane had failed two months earlier.
The company pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, on what would have been the first day of the trial, and two charges against Genge, from Norfolk, were dropped.
"The prosecution and the defence have been in discussions and the outcome of which is the company have agreed to plead guilty on the condition that the prosecution brings to an end proceedings against Mr Genge, the managing director", said prosecutor Deanna Heer.
Judge Alistair McCreath adjourned sentencing until March 15, and agreed for the prosecution to offer no evidence against Mr Genge.
Relatives of both men were in court this morning to hear the guilty pleas.
After the crash, the body of Mr Alexa, a bus driver from Brixton, south London with an 18-month-old son, could not be recovered for three days as authorities struggled to move the stricken crane.
His mother Liliana told the inquest: "Losing Michael is like being incarcerated and chained. No parent should ever experience that."
Mr Cloke, from Guildford, had celebrated the christening of his son two days before he died, and his father John said: "Of greatest importance to Jonathan was his family.
"He really did care about us all.
"He was utterly devoted to his wife and his son.
"Words like devastated cannot describe the effect his death has had on us."
When the inquest could finally take place in March 2012, the jury found: "Both men died as a result of a crane collapse due to failure of the inner slew ring bolts due to overloading of the counterweight."
The Crown Prosecution Service initially said no one would be prosecuted over the deaths, but reversed its position when the inquest jury blamed the crane company for the collapse.