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Boss from Connah's Quay faces charge over blast death at Saltney scrapyard

A SCRAPYARD manager is to face a manslaughter charge over the death of an employee four years ago.

Robert Owen Roberts, of Connah’s Quay, is to appear at Flintshire Magistrates Court in Mold on August 25 to face a charge of gross negligence manslaughter and a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Roberts was the general manager at Deeside Metal, Chester Road, Saltney, and responsible for the day to day running of the yard in April, 2005.

On April 12, Mark Wright, 37, a father-of-two from Wrekin Way, Saltney, died from 90% burns and inhaling high temperature gases after being told to crush 3,500 aerosol canisters in a baling machine.

Crown Prosecution Service spokesman Tim McAtackney said: “The Crown Prosecution Service has authorised charges of gross negligence manslaughter and breaching Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 against Robert Roberts in relation to the death of Mark Wright in April, 2005.

“We have written to Mrs Wright, Mark’s mother, to explain the situation and the lawyer in the case is keeping her updated on progress.

“Following a recent review and the receipt of further evidence in May, the CPS lawyer decided that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of a conviction and it is in the public interest to charge Mr Roberts.

“He will appear at Mold Magistrates Court on August 25.”

During the inquest into Mark’s death in February this year, it was revealed the canisters could still have contained at least 19.6kg of propellant.

After a series of delays that went on for almost four years, Mark’s family, including his parents Dorothy and Douglas and his widow Andrea were hoping for a verdict of unlawful killing.

This could have paved the way for a criminal investigation but they were devastated when the jury returned a narrative verdict.

Mark’s mother Dorothy, who has campaigned tirelessly for changes in health and safety legislation since Mark’s death, said she had ‘mixed feelings’ about the possibility of a manslaughter trial.

North Wales Police declined to comment.

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