Men sent to prison over death of schoolboy Harvey Tyrrell
- Credit: PA
A pub landlord and an electrician have both been jailed following the death of seven-year-old Harvey Tyrrell at a Harold Wood pub.
David Bearman and Colin Naylor were sentenced to nine years and 12 months in prison respectively following a hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court today (Thursday, April 15).
Schoolboy Harvey was electrocuted and killed after grasping a metal railing while sitting on a defective garden light at the King Harold pub in Station Road on September 11, 2018.
Naylor, of Hockley Road, Rayleigh, installed the garden lights while brother-in-law Bearman was the pub landlord.
Bearman, of Little Leighs, Chelmsford, had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence and abstracting electricity.
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Judge Martyn Zeidman QC told 73-year-old Bearman: "In short, you gambled with the lives of your customers. Putting money over safety.
"This is a bad case and one in which you put your love of money over the safety of your clientele."
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Bearman was given the nine-year prison term - with a 15 per cent reduction in credit of his guilty plea - with no additional sentence for the charge of abstracting electricity.
Defence barrister Neil Fitzgibbon described him as a "broken man consumed by guilt", adding that "no sentence can undo the wrong, or diminish the guilt he feels".
He cited a lack of previous convictions, alongside advancing 12 character references written in Bearman's favour.
While it was accepted that Bearman's mental health has deteriorated since the incident, the judge said this did not reduce his culpability for an offence in which he showed a "blatant disregard for a very high risk of death".
Naylor was unanimously acquitted of manslaughter by gross negligence by a jury in February but found guilty of a breach of the Health and Safety Work Act.
It was found that Naylor, 74, had failed to 'take reasonable care to limit the risk or prevent the danger of serious injury or death' in how he had installed the garden lights.
Judge Zeidman said the evidence presented drove the conclusion that Naylor was "aware of the risk of death but chose to turn a blind eye to it".
In mitigation, defence barrister Graham Trembath QC cited Naylor's lack of previous convictions and good character.
He also expressed concerns that serving a prison term would mean Naylor would lose receipt of his state pension, which would adversely affect both he and his wife.
Despite this, the judge resisted the request of Mr Trembath that the custodial sentence be suspended.
Assessing Naylor's culpability as "high", Judge Zeidman regarded him as having shown "wilful blindness" to the risk.
He also rejected an application - made by Mr Trembath - to have Naylor's sentence suspended pending an appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Prior to the sentences being handed down, Harvey's mum Danielle Jones read her statement to the court, while prosecutor Duncan Penny QC read the same for father Lewis Tyrrell.
Ms Jones said: "When Harvey passed away he was an only child.
"Now he has a baby brother, Jackson, who has just turned one. It's hard to explain in words how it feels to lose Harvey. It's a bizarre feeling."
There are "days I don't want to get out of bed", she said, but "to get justice for Harvey, I have to keep going".
"How are we meant to live a normal life after this?," Ms Jones asked.
The statements of both parents expressed anger at what they consider to be a lack of remorse from Naylor and Bearman.
Mr Tyrrell's statement read: "I feel like a part of me died when Harvey did.
"Losing a child is one of the hardest things in the world, but because it was sudden we didn't have a chance to say goodbye."
He vowed to spend the rest of his life trying to honour Harvey's memory, adding that he believes infant son Jackson has "saved" him.
Judge Zeidman paid tribute to the family, crediting Harvey's parents for conducting themselves with "incredible dignity and strength".
Echoing their sentiments, he said that Harvey's name "will never be forgotten".
Detective Sergeant Andy McAlister said: “I hope the sentencing begins to bring the family some peace, they have remained dignified throughout this long and undoubtedly heart-breaking court process."
"The decisions that both men have made cost the life of an innocent child and devastated a family."