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Boy, 7, killed after being electrocuted in pub garden, court heard.


A seven-year-old boy was killed after being electrocuted while playing in a pub garden, a court was told.

Harvey Tyrrell suffered a fatal shock at King Harold pub, Romford, east London, when he touched a poorly installed outdoor light on September 11 2018.

The pub’s owner, David Bearman, 73, of Ardleigh Green Road, Hornchurch, east London, was jailed for nine years after previously pleading guilty to gross negligence manslaughter.

The electrician said to have installed the lighting, Bearman’s 74-year-old brother-in-law, Colin Naylor, was jailed for a year after being found guilty of failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act, following a trial.

Naylor’s trial heard he had installed the lighting circuit around the garden’s perimeter in June 2018, three months before Harvey Tyrell’s death.

Bearman, who suffered an electric shock in the pub’s basement in May 2018, leased the business from Punch Taverns from 2006 before buying the freehold for £900,000 in 2010.

The court heard environmental health inspectors had identified “numerous electrical defects” in 2009.

But the obligation to engage a “competent person” to fix the problems was “never fulfilled by Mr Bearman up and until, the day of Harvey’s death,” prosecutor, Duncan Penny, QC said.

He said: “Harvey Tyrell was electrocuted as a result of the unsafe installation of a lighting unit in that garden combined with a catalogue of electrical failures found in due course during the inspection of that public house by a series of experts who subsequently came to investigate.”

The court heard the lights had significant defects, including a lack of appropriate insulation to prevent water getting in and no earthing at the distribution board from which the circuit was powered.

An investigation into Harvey’s death found 12 defects at the pub, which posed a risk of injury including electric shock, and 32 potentially dangerous defects, with one expert describing it as “the most dangerous thing he’s ever seen in 40 years.”

One member of staff described the electrics at the pub as “extension leads plugged into extension leads” and said the circuit would trip intermittently.

The pub’s manager, Kirsty Beard, said the lights in the beer garden had been known to spark and did not have a switch, and were instead operated from the fuse.

Naylor denied any wrongdoing, telling police in an interview that he was an electrician with 50 years’ experience and believed his work to be “first class.”

Bearman’s barrister, Neil Fitzgibbon, said his client’s guilty plea was an acceptance of “full responsibility” for Harvey’s death.

He said Bearman was a “generous family man” behind the “veneer of a colourful character”, who was very close friends with Harvey’s parents and considered the boy as a relative.

He said: “He is a broken man, consumed with guilt about what happened and has, on a number of occasions since this tragedy, tried to take his own life.

“No sentence can undo the wrong he has caused or diminish the guilt he feels and, through me, he apologises from the bottom of his heart for the grief that he has caused all of Harvey’s family… He hopes one day the family can forgive him.”

The boy had been taken to the pub by his mother to join his father and maternal grandfather and was playing in the garden with a friend when he was electrocuted.

His father, Lewis Tyrrell, said in a statement “The day Harvey died he woke up happy and beautiful. At the end of that day, he was dead. It was so sudden we didn’t get time to say final words, to say goodbye."