Jail for company director Paul O'Boyle after worker Ian Middlemiss is crushed to death by two-tonne sandbox

The two tonne sandbox which killed Ian Middlemiss

Victim Ian Middlemiss

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

A disqualified company director has been jailed for flouting health and safety regulations which led to a worker being crushed to death.

Paul O'Boyle was jailed for 26 months today after admitting a string of offences including breach of health and safety regulations, acting as a company director while disqualified, and fraud during his time as a director of Aztech AB Ltd.

It comes four years after Southampton man Ian Middlemiss was killed when a two-tonne sandbox fell onto him while working at the firm.

Today 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.

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 reported, 40-year-old 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, 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.

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

"So it was that tragedy 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 on failures on your behalf of refusing to heed to earnings you had been given by the HSE, improvement notices, and even after not learning lessons and implementing provisions suggested to you."

Comments (13)

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4:20pm Fri 29 Aug 14

samsonnie03 says...

The justice system is totally wrong and screwed up. 26 months for a man's life just wrong
The justice system is totally wrong and screwed up. 26 months for a man's life just wrong samsonnie03
  • Score: 19

4:27pm Fri 29 Aug 14

fruitpips says...

Absolutely shocking , I'm disappointed and saddened by this an absolute disgrace to IAN MIDDLEMISS , SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND X
Absolutely shocking , I'm disappointed and saddened by this an absolute disgrace to IAN MIDDLEMISS , SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND X fruitpips
  • Score: 22

5:11pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Chipster says...

Ian Middlemiss was a hard working man robbed of his life and future, his employer will no doubt learn nothing from this tragedy as it was proven he'd had previous warnings of HSE issues. The time spent in prison will be minimal compared to the sentence his father has to live through without his only son and child! He was also my nephew!
Rest in Peace Ian. x
Ian Middlemiss was a hard working man robbed of his life and future, his employer will no doubt learn nothing from this tragedy as it was proven he'd had previous warnings of HSE issues. The time spent in prison will be minimal compared to the sentence his father has to live through without his only son and child! He was also my nephew! Rest in Peace Ian. x Chipster
  • Score: 26

5:46pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Paramjit Bahia says...

How can this be called fair justice?

A man lost his life, and all the criminal director of the firm has only been jailed for just 26 months.

How much of it will he be actually spending in Her Majesty's Guest House also called Prison?

If that is seems too soft, then consider what else this criminal had done.... So when all that is taken into account it appears that not much consideration has been given to the poor man who lost his life while trying to earn something for living.

This judgement is no consolation for his family, friends and relatives.
How can this be called fair justice? A man lost his life, and all the criminal director of the firm has only been jailed for just 26 months. How much of it will he be actually spending in Her Majesty's Guest House also called Prison? If that is seems too soft, then consider what else this criminal had done.... So when all that is taken into account it appears that not much consideration has been given to the poor man who lost his life while trying to earn something for living. This judgement is no consolation for his family, friends and relatives. Paramjit Bahia
  • Score: 10

8:09pm Fri 29 Aug 14

richieroo says...

Paramjit Bahia wrote:
How can this be called fair justice?

A man lost his life, and all the criminal director of the firm has only been jailed for just 26 months.

How much of it will he be actually spending in Her Majesty's Guest House also called Prison?

If that is seems too soft, then consider what else this criminal had done.... So when all that is taken into account it appears that not much consideration has been given to the poor man who lost his life while trying to earn something for living.

This judgement is no consolation for his family, friends and relatives.
Very well said!.
[quote][p][bold]Paramjit Bahia[/bold] wrote: How can this be called fair justice? A man lost his life, and all the criminal director of the firm has only been jailed for just 26 months. How much of it will he be actually spending in Her Majesty's Guest House also called Prison? If that is seems too soft, then consider what else this criminal had done.... So when all that is taken into account it appears that not much consideration has been given to the poor man who lost his life while trying to earn something for living. This judgement is no consolation for his family, friends and relatives.[/p][/quote]Very well said!. richieroo
  • Score: 3

10:05pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Huey says...

Disgusting
Disgusting Huey
  • Score: 3

10:07pm Fri 29 Aug 14

My boy says...

The report says he's 40? I went to Bitterne C of E with an Ian Middlemiss but I'm 44, I'm assuming it's him. Tragic news either way, thoughts go out to his family.
The report says he's 40? I went to Bitterne C of E with an Ian Middlemiss but I'm 44, I'm assuming it's him. Tragic news either way, thoughts go out to his family. My boy
  • Score: 1

11:08pm Fri 29 Aug 14

nero24 says...

Awful someone lost their life but this just shows inaccurate journalism at it's best. There were health & safety issues but that was nothing to do with the death of this man. Unfortunately it was found he was not using the equipment correctly hence the accident happened. This does not help the suffering of the family but that is not what the case was about hence the perhaps lighter sentencing. As for Russell Lee being an 'accomplice' again ridiculous false information I will certainly be taking up with the newspaper and their reporting. What a demonstration of media propaganda!
Awful someone lost their life but this just shows inaccurate journalism at it's best. There were health & safety issues but that was nothing to do with the death of this man. Unfortunately it was found he was not using the equipment correctly hence the accident happened. This does not help the suffering of the family but that is not what the case was about hence the perhaps lighter sentencing. As for Russell Lee being an 'accomplice' again ridiculous false information I will certainly be taking up with the newspaper and their reporting. What a demonstration of media propaganda! nero24
  • Score: -6

9:41am Sat 30 Aug 14

forest hump says...

nero24 wrote:
Awful someone lost their life but this just shows inaccurate journalism at it's best. There were health & safety issues but that was nothing to do with the death of this man. Unfortunately it was found he was not using the equipment correctly hence the accident happened. This does not help the suffering of the family but that is not what the case was about hence the perhaps lighter sentencing. As for Russell Lee being an 'accomplice' again ridiculous false information I will certainly be taking up with the newspaper and their reporting. What a demonstration of media propaganda!
Although this is a tragic event, it will not deter the press from putting unnecessary spin on the story. A man has lost his life and I respect the sensitivity of this loss. However, never, never, ever believe what is printed in newspapers. They will print (sometimes very poorly in the case of the D.E) whatever they think will gain themselves support.
[quote][p][bold]nero24[/bold] wrote: Awful someone lost their life but this just shows inaccurate journalism at it's best. There were health & safety issues but that was nothing to do with the death of this man. Unfortunately it was found he was not using the equipment correctly hence the accident happened. This does not help the suffering of the family but that is not what the case was about hence the perhaps lighter sentencing. As for Russell Lee being an 'accomplice' again ridiculous false information I will certainly be taking up with the newspaper and their reporting. What a demonstration of media propaganda![/p][/quote]Although this is a tragic event, it will not deter the press from putting unnecessary spin on the story. A man has lost his life and I respect the sensitivity of this loss. However, never, never, ever believe what is printed in newspapers. They will print (sometimes very poorly in the case of the D.E) whatever they think will gain themselves support. forest hump
  • Score: 4

10:09am Sat 30 Aug 14

samsonnie03 says...

Nero 24

If you new what actually happened that day you would not be writing such utter crap. Ian new exactly what he was doing the day he got killed he had been doing that job for years. The equipment he was using was not upto scratch due to Paul o boyle cutting many corners as he did with paying people's wages etc. Russell Lee was aiding and abetting and went along with Paul o boyle which makes him just as bad.
Nero 24 If you new what actually happened that day you would not be writing such utter crap. Ian new exactly what he was doing the day he got killed he had been doing that job for years. The equipment he was using was not upto scratch due to Paul o boyle cutting many corners as he did with paying people's wages etc. Russell Lee was aiding and abetting and went along with Paul o boyle which makes him just as bad. samsonnie03
  • Score: 6

11:32am Sat 30 Aug 14

nero24 says...

I know exactly what went on and I know that this case was not about the death of ian, which is awfully tragic. There were obviously serious health & safety issues but this case wasn't around his death hence no compensation for the family and the judge saying that would have to be brought in another case should the family choose. I am sure 26 months does not feel enough and clearly Paul was dishonest and should not have had the opportunity to run a company. Aiding and abetting suggests one knew what was going on, where as if you heard the judge ruling you would see he too was duped and unlucky being dragged into anything to do with Paul. Everyone is a victim in this apart from Paul who was fully aware of the dishonesty.
I know exactly what went on and I know that this case was not about the death of ian, which is awfully tragic. There were obviously serious health & safety issues but this case wasn't around his death hence no compensation for the family and the judge saying that would have to be brought in another case should the family choose. I am sure 26 months does not feel enough and clearly Paul was dishonest and should not have had the opportunity to run a company. Aiding and abetting suggests one knew what was going on, where as if you heard the judge ruling you would see he too was duped and unlucky being dragged into anything to do with Paul. Everyone is a victim in this apart from Paul who was fully aware of the dishonesty. nero24
  • Score: -4

8:27pm Sun 31 Aug 14

Mr Cynical says...

My boy wrote:
The report says he's 40? I went to Bitterne C of E with an Ian Middlemiss but I'm 44, I'm assuming it's him. Tragic news either way, thoughts go out to his family.
"40-year-old Mr Middlemiss died in September 2010 when the box fell on him at Aztech Art Foundry."

And a suspended sentence for the "front" man? What sort of deterrent is that for mates of disqualified directors putting their name down instead as a favour to their friend - isn't that fraud as well?
[quote][p][bold]My boy[/bold] wrote: The report says he's 40? I went to Bitterne C of E with an Ian Middlemiss but I'm 44, I'm assuming it's him. Tragic news either way, thoughts go out to his family.[/p][/quote]"40-year-old Mr Middlemiss died in September 2010 when the box fell on him at Aztech Art Foundry." And a suspended sentence for the "front" man? What sort of deterrent is that for mates of disqualified directors putting their name down instead as a favour to their friend - isn't that fraud as well? Mr Cynical
  • Score: 0

5:17pm Mon 1 Sep 14

nero24 says...

Not if it's not a friend, and not a front man. Unfortunately people do not know the facts of this case or that the judge ruled because he too saw that Mr Lee had been duped. The judge said that himself. It is awful that all this has happened and a man lost his life but this article has not been written factually or accurately as most media isn't.
Not if it's not a friend, and not a front man. Unfortunately people do not know the facts of this case or that the judge ruled because he too saw that Mr Lee had been duped. The judge said that himself. It is awful that all this has happened and a man lost his life but this article has not been written factually or accurately as most media isn't. nero24
  • Score: 0

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