Earlsfield firm fined over worker's death in 2009
A family run business has been fined after a the owner's brother-in-law was killed in a freak accident.
David Churchill, 59, who worked at Rayners Catering and Equipment Hire for more than 40 years, was killed in 2009 when tables he was trying to unload from a van fell on top of him.
The 90-year-old company, based in Earlsfield, pleaded guilty to contravening health and safety regulations and was fined £65,000 at Kingston Crown Court on Friday (May 25).
Mr Churchill's widow, Elaine Churchill, who lives in Worcester Park, said relationships within the family have been strained since the incident.
She said: "We are all doing our best to get along, we try as best we can given what happened.
"David used to ring me when he got a chance at work, but I hadn't heard from him that day, and then I got a call to say go to the hospital, that's when I expected the worst.
"One day he went to work and he never came back.
"We didn't get chance to say goodbye."
Raymond Rayner, Mrs Churchill's nephew, was in court to hear how his company had failed to protect Mr Churchill by not ensuring all delivery men had sufficient training to load and unload heavy equipment.
When interviewed after the incident, Mr Rayner told police the company had assumed drivers who arrived on site could load properly.
The court also heard the company had not checked all the caddies used to hold tables in place were safe.
Mr Churchill died from his injuries on July 23 2009, but as there were no witnesses to the incident a day earlier, it is unclear as to exactly what happened.
In sentencing the company, His Honour Judge Southwell, said: "To express a loss like this to a family is beyond words, I accept that."
As well as the fine, the company was ordered to pay £9,950 in costs.
Mrs Churchill, who had been married to Mr Churchill for 38 years, said: "I didn't go to court for retribution, I just felt like I needed to see it through to the end.
"These last two years have been such a hard time and at least now I can look to the future, but I have to face it alone."