Horrifying footage shows final moments of labourer who was ‘killed instantly’ when fell into industrial shredder while trying to unblock it – as his boss and employer are found guilty of manslaughter
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Horrifying footage shows the moment a labourer was killed when he fell into an industrial shredder.

David Willis, 29, tumbled into a shredder designed for wood and commercial waste at Timmins Waste Services (TWS), in Wolverhampton.

CCTV from the tragedy on September 15, 2018, shows Mr Willis being hoisted up to the machine on a JCB digger’s grapple arm.

His boss, yard manager Brian Timmins, was in the cab of the digger and had told Mr Willis to clear a blockage in the shredder while it was running.

Mr Willis knelt on the edge of the machine but as he reached down he fell inside and was killed instantly by the huge meshing blades.

The remains of David Willis (pictured) , 29, were never found after he fell inside a machine designed for shredding wood and commercial waste at Timmins Waste Services (TWS) in Mander Street, Wolverhampton, on September 15, 2018

Brian Timmins, 54, of Albrighton in Wolverhampton, was found guilty of manslaughter and the company guilty of corporate manslaughter

Brian Timmins, 54, of Albrighton in Wolverhampton, was found guilty of manslaughter and the company guilty of corporate manslaughter

Footage shows Timmins climb up to the top of the hopper and peer inside before walking away from the scene and pull out his mobile phone.

He then called Mr Willis’ number before climbing back inside the digger and continued working – meaning the labourer’s remains were buried in shredded waste.

When Mr Willis disappeared inside the machine, Timmins was seen on CCTV looking around the yard and inside the shredder’s ‘hopper’, which guides the waste towards the machine’s blades, before calling Mr Willis’s phone.

He was then seen looking out the yard gates and running around the site, before returning to the digger and continuing to operate the shredder.

The next day, Timmins returned to the yard where workers took 80 tonnes of recycled waste – including Mr Willis’ remains – to a landfill site in Cannock, Staffs.

Tragically, police believe Mr Willis’ remains will never be found.

This week Timmins, 54, of Albrighton in Wolverhampton, was found guilty of manslaughter and the company guilty of corporate manslaughter.

Timmins and TWS have previously admitted health and safety charges.

West Midlands Police released footage of the tragedy following the trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Jurors head Mr Willis’ mother reported him missing on the night he failed to return home from work.

It was only when his coat was found near the shredder two days later that CCTV from the previous Saturday was reviewed and it emerged he had fallen into the shredder.

The incident took place at Timmins Waste Services (TWS) in Mander Street, Wolverhampton (pictured)

The incident took place at Timmins Waste Services (TWS) in Mander Street, Wolverhampton (pictured)

West Midlands Police released footage of the tragedy following the trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court

West Midlands Police released footage of the tragedy following the trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court

Mr Willis tumbled into a shredder designed for wood and commercial waste at Timmins Waste Services (TWS), in Wolverhampton

Mr Willis tumbled into a shredder designed for wood and commercial waste at Timmins Waste Services (TWS), in Wolverhampton

His boss, yard manager Brian Timmins, was in the cab of the digger and had told Mr Willis to clear a blockage in the shredder while it was running

His boss, yard manager Brian Timmins, was in the cab of the digger and had told Mr Willis to clear a blockage in the shredder while it was running

Mr Willis knelt on the edge of the machine but as he reached down he fell inside and was killed instantly by the huge meshing blades

Mr Willis knelt on the edge of the machine but as he reached down he fell inside and was killed instantly by the huge meshing blades

The next day Timmins returned to the yard where workers took 80 tonnes of recycled waste - including Mr Willis' remains - to a landfill site in Cannock, Staffs

The next day Timmins returned to the yard where workers took 80 tonnes of recycled waste – including Mr Willis’ remains – to a landfill site in Cannock, Staffs

Detective Inspector Jim Colclough, who lead the investigation, said: ‘We found major, systemic failings across TWS which meant workers were put at risk.

‘Risk assessments were not done, and safe methods of working were simply not put in place.

‘Timmins’ failure to lock off the shredder, and his decision to put Mr Willis in a position of danger, directly caused this tragedy.

‘We spent many weeks searching the site at Cannock, but only found part of a tabard which may have belonged to David.

‘The fact that we could not recover David has added to the anguish caused to his family, and denied them the chance to say goodbye to him with dignity..’

The jury could not reach a verdict on a charge of perverting the course of justice levelled at Timmins.

Timmins, who was granted unconditional bail, and TWS will be sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court on a date to be fixed.

After the trial, Mr Willis’ family said in a statement: ‘David’s death is as painful for us now as it was five years ago.

‘David has missed out on so many treasured family moments, including the birth of his niece and the growing up of his nephew, who still treats David as his superhero in the sky.’

Following the verdicts, Mr Willis’s family said in a statement released through West Midlands Police: ‘David’s death is as painful for us now as it was five years ago.

‘David has missed out on so many treasured family moments, including the birth of his niece and the growing up of his nephew, who still treats David as his superhero in the sky.’



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