Two men have been sentenced today in relation to the death of seven-year-old Harvey Tyrrell in September 2018.
Pub owner, David Bearman, 73, of Little Leighs, Chelmsford, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court to nine years in prison for gross negligence manslaughter and abstracting electricity. This comes after he pleaded guilty in March 2020 at the Old Bailey.
Colin Naylor, 74, of Rayleigh, was sentenced to 12 months in prison for failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act. This follows a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court in which he was found guilty on Tuesday, February 16. He was found not guilty of gross negligence manslaughter on the same date.
Police were called by the London Ambulance Service (LAS) to The King Harold pub in Station Road, Harold Wood, Romford, shortly after 5.20pm on September 11, 2018.
Officers and LAS found seven-year-old Harvey Tyrrell, who was from Harold Wood, unresponsive. Harvey was taken to an east London hospital, where he was pronounced dead later that same evening.
A special post-mortem took place on Thursday, September 13, 2018 at St Thomas’ Hospital. It found the cause of his death was electrocution.
An investigation was launched by detectives from the Met’s East Area Command. During the course of their enquiries it was discovered that while playing with a friend in the garden at the pub, Harvey had sat on a light and touched a railing causing an electric shock that proved fatal.
Enquires were made, which found that the landlord of the King Harold, David Bearman, had bought the pub 12 years previously. It was established that in this time, he had often completed work on the electrics concerning the premises himself. He would also use friends and family to complete work, including his brother-in-law Colin Naylor.
The venue was examined on the evening of Tuesday, September 11, 2018 and made safe, and an immediate issue concerning the outside lights being live at their casing was noted.
A full examination of the whole premises commenced on Monday, September 17, 2018. During this examination, multiple issues were detected as well as an illegal unmetered electrical supply.
It was discovered that the pub had its last full health and safety checks in 2009, that there were electrical defects listed including issues with wiring, cabling and that there was no current electrical test certificate for the premises.
Despite warnings from inspectors and multiple comments noting how dangerous the electrics were, Bearman failed to resolve any of the issues.
One incident resulted in Bearman himself suffering a major electrical shock just months prior to Harvey’s death.
Bearman is known to have called himself ‘an electrician’ despite having no qualifications.
The court also heard that the electrical installation of the light that caused Harvey’s death, and a significant amount of electrical maintenance at the property, had been completed by Naylor just three months previously.
On inspection, it was found that the metal casing of the light was live with electricity.
Naylor claims to have 50 years’ experience as a qualified electrician. He admitted that in April 2018 he had carried out work at the premises and had viewed one of the electrical distribution boards. He said this gave him cause to ‘raise his eyebrows’, but having spoken to Bearman, he took the decision ‘not to get involved in that side of things’.
The inspection conducted following Harvey’s tragic death found that the entire distribution board serving the garden lights was not earthed.
Detective Sergeant Andy McAlister said: “Bearman’s negligence and failure to ensure his venue was kept properly up to date with electrical checks has cost a young boy his life, something which could have easily been avoided. The sentencing today reflects the impact that his actions have had.
“Bearman had been given several warnings in relation to the state of the electrics within the premises and ignored these warnings, undoubtedly leading to poor Harvey’s death.
“I hope the sentencing begins to bring the family some peace, they have remained dignified throughout this long and undoubtedly heart-breaking court process. My thoughts and best wishes are with them and no words will describe how sorry we are for their loss.
“As a qualified electrician, Naylor had not only the ability, but also the responsibility, to ensure that the work he completed didn’t pose a risk to those visiting the venue.
“The decisions that both men have made cost the life of an innocent child and devastated a family.”
Speaking on behalf of Harvey’s family, his parents (Lewis Tyrrell and Danielle Jones) said: “In September 2018 our lives changed forever, we experienced what no parent should ever go through. We lost our beautiful seven-year-old boy Harvey in a tragic accident due to two men’s disregard for safety in a public place. After waiting an extremely long two-and-a-half years, we now have some form of justice for our Harvey chops.
“No sentence will ever be enough as we have to live without Harvey, with heartache and grief for the rest of our days. What we would give to have our cheeky, larger than life, handsome, funny, little boy back, being able to hear that infectious laugh of his again.
“Sadly our son’s death has highlighted that the enforcement of regulations around health and safety within public houses is flawed and needs to be addressed, we do not want another family experiencing the pain we are having to face. We will continue to do what we can for our beautiful baby boy and keep his memory alive forever.”