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Contractor sentenced after retired farmer killed in freak accident

A contractor has been sentenced after the retired farmer who hired him was killed by a piece of barbed wire that shot out of his hedge cutting machine.

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TRAGIC: James Headland
TRAGIC: James Headland

Adrian Pickett was working for James Headland, on February 13, 2015, when the wire ejected from the machine and struck Mr Headland in the neck.


The 73-year-old later died as a result of his injuries.


Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard how Mr Pickett had been contracted to do the work for the landowner at Headland’s Farm, in Wyberton Fen, Boston and was using his own machinery, which included a rotary flail hedge cutter.


An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found Mr Pickett failed to ensure his own safety and that of others by following a safe system of work.


His maintenance of the equipment and correct use of guards for this work activity were also at fault.


Guilty plea


Adrian Pickett, of Canopus Farm, Frith Bank, Boston, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.


He was sentenced to 80 hours of community service ordered to pay £6558.38 in costs.


Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Sam Russell said: “Mr Pickett contributed to the circumstances of this tragic death by not taking the correct precautions.


"He could have reduced the risk significantly by using the correct guarding and safe system of work for activity of cutting hedges.”


Joan Headland, who was married to James Headland for 45 years, told Lincolnshire Live: “Since my husband left the house that Friday morning I have never seen him again.


"James was my husband, my friend and a great father to my children. He had been a very proud grandfather for only five weeks.


"We have shed a few tears and there will be more tears to shed as time goes by.”

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