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Electrics at pub where boy was shocked to death 'most dangerous in 40 years', says expert

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·3-min read
Harvey Tyrrell died after sitting on a pub garden light and prosecutors blame Colin Naylor. (PA/SWNS/Metropolitan Police)
Harvey Tyrrell died after sitting on a pub garden light and prosecutors blame Colin Naylor. (PA/SWNS/Metropolitan Police)

An east London pub where a seven-year-old boy was shocked to death had its electrics described by an expert as “the most dangerous thing he’s ever seen in 40 years”, jurors have heard.

Harvey Tyrrell was playing with a friend at the King Harold pub in Romford – branded a "death trap" in court – when he sat on a light in the garden and suffered an electric shock. He was pronounced death after being taken to hospital.

Snaresbrook Crown Court has been told that experienced electrician Colin Naylor, 74, had a duty to check the safety of the electrics and claimed the defendant knew about their “unsatisfactory state”.

The garden lights had “significant defects”, including inadequate insulation to prevent water from getting inside, the prosecution has claimed.

Harvey Tyrrell died in September 2019. (PA)

Harvey Tyrrell died in September 2018. (PA)

Naylor, of Rayleigh, Essex, denies manslaughter by gross negligence in relation to the incident on 11 September 2018.

The court has heard David Bearman, Naylor’s brother-in-law who owned the pub, was warned about defects in 2009 and a follow-up found they were not rectified. He previously pleaded guilty to Tyrrell’s manslaughter.

Jurors have heard how a survey after the incident found the pub to be "very dangerous" and staff have spoken about "extension leads plugged into extension leads".

Bearman was once “blown across the cellar” when he touched a fuse box, the court has been told.

During cross-examination on Tuesday, Naylor said he never told Bearman to get the pub "sorted out".

“I never saw any evidence of any faults anywhere in that public house," he said. He worked at the establishment for 48 days.

Duncan Penny QC told Naylor how expert criticism included the remark that it was "the most dangerous thing he’s ever seen in 40 years” and the prosecutor branded it a "death trap", while the fuse boards were a "dog's dinner".

Naylor insisted he had never seen anything dangerous or "badly done" and had carried out a "visual" check of the boards.

He confirmed the lights for the pub garden had been taken from Bearman's own garden and that testing and certification should have been carried out after his installation, but this was the responsibility of the pub manager or owner.

Colin Naylor denies manslaughter. (PA)
Colin Naylor denies manslaughter. (PA)

He said he told Bearman in June 2018 that it "should all be tested", and added that he never made connections or repairs to the lights' circuit after that date but that further work by an unknown person appeared to have been carried out.

Jurors have heard he defended his work to police, telling officers he thought metal railings where Tyrrell sat may have become live due to another electricity supply instead of the lights he installed, but admitted that was speculation.

Graham Trembath QC, his defence lawyer, asked him: “Looking back on it now, did you think you did, in respect of the work you did in terms of the garden light circuit, a proper, competent, good job?”

“Yes,” Naylor replied.

He also denies failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to take reasonable care.

The trial continues.