The Miami Entrepreneur

Shea Ryan: Mother to sue firm over boy’s manhole death

Shea Ryan, 10, died after contractor RJ McLeod failed to put in place adequate safety measures.

Image source, Police Scotland

A mother is suing a building firm over its failure to implement safety measures which led to the death of her 10-year-old son in Glasgow.

Shea Ryan entered a construction site in Drumchapel with his friends through an insecure fence in July 2020.

He told them he wanted to climb down a manhole but slipped on a ladder and fell about 6.3 metres (20ft).

In April contractor RJ McLeod admitted breaching health and safety laws and was fined £800,000.

The company, which said it “fully accepted” the ruling, was also told it would need to pay a victim surcharge of £60,000.

Sheriff Matthew Jackson KC said the punishment wouldn’t “replace the terrible loss of Shea’s life.”

He told Glasgow Sheriff Court the headline figure for a fine was £1.5m but added that this was reduced due to mitigating factors, including the timing of the company’s plea.

Sheriff Jackson said: “Nothing this court can do can bring Shea back who was a wonderful, son and friend as well as a loss to his family, school and all of us.”

The court heard the building site was close to a playpark but it was only secured by a single fence which had been vandalised in the past and breached on six occasions.

After the alarm was raised officers found the school boy lying on his back with his stepfather, Graham Patterson, and a neighbour beside him.

His cause of death was noted as “head injury and drowning.”

In a statement after the hearing Shea’s mother Joanne Ferguson said she hoped lessons would be learned from the tragedy.

“My son is not here and that destroys me every day,” she said.

“That totally avoidable accident has ruined my life and my kids’ lives – I don’t even feel human anymore at times because of the grief.

“I just hope this makes them consider site safety everywhere – not just for RJ McLeod but for companies everywhere because the safety of these places is so important.”

Following the case RJ McLeod said it “extended condolences” to Shea’s family.

A spokesperson added: “We have carried out a comprehensive review of the event and have taken action to protect against the risk of a re-occurrence.

“We fully co-operated and engaged with the investigating authorities.

“Safety is always our top priority and site safety updates are implemented across the business on an ongoing basis.”

Ms Ferguson’s civil case against RJ McLeod will be handled by law firm Digby Brown.

A fatal accident inquiry into Shea’s death will take place at a later date.

Related Topics

Previous post Starmer credits Thatcher in pitch to Tory voters
Next post Stock Funds Get Back on Their Feet