Boy, 7, was ‘electrocuted to death after sitting on pub garden lights’


Will Taylor
·News Reporter21 January 2021

Colin Naylor is standing trial over the death of Harvey Tyrell. (PA)
Colin Naylor is standing trial over the death of Harvey Tyrrell. (PA)

A seven-year-old boy was electrocuted to death during a pub trip with his family after an electrician installed faulty lighting, a court has been told.

Harvey Tyrrell was playing with a friend in the garden of the “very dangerous” King Harold pub in Romford, east London, when he suffered an electric shock after sitting on a wall and a garden light, jurors heard.

Prosecutors blame Colin Naylor, 73, an electrician and brother-in-law of the establishment’s owner, who denies manslaughter by gross negligence.

He also denies one charge of failing to discharge a duty under the Health And Safety At Work Act by failing to take reasonable care to limit the risk or prevent the danger of serious injury or death.

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Harvey Tyrrell died in September 2019. (PA)
Harvey Tyrrell died in September 2018. (PA)

Prosecutor Duncan Penny QC told Snaresbrook Crown Court: “In essence, when young Harvey both touched one of the garden lights by sitting on it and took hold of some nearby metal railings it seems clear that electricity then flowed through his body, causing fatal damage.

“He collapsed to the ground in front of another boy with whom he was playing.

“These events were watched by a number of adults in the area who immediately went to assist him.”

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The other child went to offer Harvey a bag of crisps but the boy did not respond, and instead was leaning backwards with his head tilted up.

He then fell off the wall and was taken to hospital but pronounced dead that evening.

A customer touched the lamp and railing where Harvey had sat and was given an electric shock, the court heard.

Jurors were told the lighting circuit attached around the garden’s perimeter was installed by Naylor in June 2018, months before Harvey’s death on 11 September that year.

The lights had “significant defects” and Penny listed inadequate insulation to prevent water getting inside and lack of earthing at the distribution board, from where the circuit was powered, Penny said.

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

Jurors heard the pub had several problems with electrics and owner David Bearman has previously pleaded guilty to Harvey’s manslaughter.

An inspection from the Health and Safety Executive after Tyrrell’s death found the pub was “very dangerous indeed” and every circuit going to the same fuse box was not properly earthed for safety, Penny said.

A total of 12 defects were found that presented a risk of injury, including electrical shock, and 32 potentially dangerous defects were identified, the court was told.

Bearman was warned about defects in 2009, and a follow-up found they had not been rectified, the court heard.

Staff at the pub said lights would often trip and fuse boxes appeared to be overloaded, while one appliance was plugged into a melted extension cord, Penny said.

Jurors heard Bearman was once “blown across the cellar” after touching a fuse box in 2018, which left a large purple injury on his arm – though Naylor said he thought the injury was unrelated to the electricity supply.

Penny said Naylor was “under a duty to check that every appropriate and adequate safety feature was present and functioning in the installation with which he was concerned”.

The electrician of 50 years told police the state of one of the distribution boards caused him to “raise his eyebrows”, jurors heard.

However, he said his installation was “first class” and that any notion of water ingress was “b*******”.

The trial continues.