Ian Middlemiss' family still devastated four years after his death at Aztech Art Foundry

David Middlemiss, centre, with family friend Annette Foster, left, and Roy Hopkins, right

Ian Middlemiss

First published in News
Last updated
Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

THE family of a worker crushed in an industrial accident say they are still devastated by his death.

Ian Middlemiss was kiled when a two-tonne sandbox fell onto him while working for Aztech Art Foundry.

Now Paul O'Boyle, who was running the Hampshire firm despite being disqualified as a director, is waking up behind bars after admitting a catalogue of offences influcing fraud and flouting a string of health and safety regulations.

It comes four years after Southampton man Mr Middlemiss was killed in the incident.

Yesterday the 40-year-old’s dad David and his best friend Roy Hopkins, who battled to save his friend when he was trapped underneath the sandbox, were at Winchester Crown Court to see O’Boyle jailed but feel he should have got more.

Mr Middlemiss said: “His death has left a big empty void in my life, which has left me devastated.

“This is a loss which I will never recover from. I think he [O’Boyle] should have got longer.”

Mr Hopkins, who was diagnosed with depression after Mr Middlemiss’ death, added: “We were like brothers and he helped me get the job.

“I tried helping him but I got there too late.”

The Recorder of Salisbury Honour Judge Andrew Barnett said O’Boyle, of Andover, showed a “complete disregard” for any health and safety requirements he was responsible for putting in place.

Sentencing O’Boyle, the judge said: “The common feature of your criminality was an absolute disregard to your company directorship.

“So it was tragedy that befell the company when a dreadful industrial accident occurred which robbed one of your employees of his life.

“It was an accident that need not have happened and an accident described by many as an accident waiting to happen, and was caused undoubtedly by failures on your behalf of refusing to heed to warnings you had been given by the HSE.”

O’Boyle previously admitted four breaches of Section 13 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1996, a breach of the Fraud Act 2006, and a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which relates to the death of Mr Middlemiss.

He was sentenced along with accomplice Russell Lee, of Horseshoe Bridge, Southampton, who escaped jail despite being a “front” for the business.

He received a total of 12 months in prison, suspended for two years, for aiding and abetting Mr O’Boyle in his disqualification and similar breach of Health and Safety at Work Act.

O’Boyle’s firm, the now insolvent Aztech BA Ltd, was also fined £100,000.

As previously reported, sand moulder Mr Middlemiss died in September 2010 when the box fell on him at Aztech Art Foundry.

He was crushed to death when the sandbox came away from lifting chains of the crane he was using.

Emergency services raced to the premises to reports of a male who had crush injuries but Mr Middlemiss passed away at the scene.

Hampshire police launched a joint probe at that time with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to determine exactly how he had died.

The prosecution was then brought by the HSE, the Department of Business, Industry and Skills, and the Insolvency Service after the offences came to light following an investigation.

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