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Recycling deaths case passed to HSE

The most severe criminal charges are understood to have been ruled out following the deaths of five men at a West Midlands recycling yard.

The workers, aged between 40 and 56, were killed on 7 July 2016 when a wall collapsed on them at the site in the Nechells area of Birmingham owned by Hawkeswood Metal Recycling.

West Midlands Police handed over control of the case to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on 14 December, and investigators are now assessing whether any health and safety laws have been breached.

MRW understands that the police sought what is known as ’early investigatory advice’ on their findings from the Crime Prosecution Service. This prompted the switch of control to the HSE and the likelihood of less severe charges than, for example, corporate manslaughter if and when the case goes to court.

Geoffrey Brown, principal inspector leading the HSE investigation, said: “This remains a criminal investigation into the five deaths. We will be considering whether there were any breaches of health and safety law relevant to the circumstances of this tragic event.

“The HSE’s thoughts remain with the families of those who lost loved ones that day. We will of course keep the families updated as our investigation continues.”

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