Jury finds Colnbrook’s McArdle guilty in trial over M25 death

Collapsed construction firm McArdle, based in Colnbrook, was found guilty yesterday by a jury deliberating over the death of a site foreman during M25 widening work in 2010.


Romanian Mihai Hondru, 39, of Poplar Way, Ilford, died on the site near junction 27 at Brentwood in October 2010. He was marshalling a tipper truck dumping its load of earth for bulldozer driver Stephen Blackmore, 55, of Devon, to spread.  Blackmore was a contractor for McArdle at the time.

The Health and Safety Executive brought a prosecution against his employer and the bulldozer driver.

The jury at Chelmsford Crown Court returned a unanimous verdict of guilty against Blackmore, and also found McArdle guilty by a majority of 11-1.

J McArdle Contracts Ltd, which went into administration in April last year, was convicted of failing to discharge its duty of ensuring that Mr Hondru was not exposed to risk of collision with heavy machinery.  It should have adequately segregated vehicles and working pedestrians, claimed the prosecution.  The company pleaded not guilty.

Judge John Dodd QC adjourned sentencing until 4 July.

The former McArdle head office site between Mill Street and Albany Park is once again occupied by the McArdle family.  Founder Jim McArdle sold the company several years before its collapse.  But the site, identified by administrators as a prized asset with a possible value up to £4.2 million, was bought by his son.

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