Man jailed for 32 months after golf club drowning

Martyn Clapham
By Martyn Clapham July 12, 2017 11:17

The director of a golf ball collection company has been jailed after an employee drowned on a Welsh golf course last year.

Cardiff Crown Court judge Keith Thomas said Dale Pike, 26, of Boss Golf Balls, had shown a “cavalier attitude” to safety, which caused the death of his friend of a number of years.

The 29-year-old father-of-one, Gareth Pugh, drowned in a lake at Peterstone Lakes Golf Club in Cardiff, while diving for lost golf balls.

Thomas said Pike had ignored the risks and the advice he had received in relation to diving for golf balls in course lakes “because it would eat into your profits.”

“You sent Pugh in with inadequate equipment, a complete lack of training and only you as incapacitated back-up (Pike had an arm in plaster at the time),” said Judge Thomas.

“You allowed him to take these risks to make a quick buck.”

There had been 16 breaches of health and safety regulations, and Judge Thomas added: “I am satisfied that the risk of death or serious injury was obvious to you, and your cavalier attitude to safety was the cause of his death.”

The court heard how Pike had agreed to pay Pugh between £20 and £40 per day to retrieve balls from the lake but the measures in place to ensure his safety were inadequate.

Iwan Jenkins from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “There was clear evidence Pike had made enquiries with legitimate dive operators to cost this activity but he chose not to use them, instead falsely claiming to the golf club that he was a qualified commercial diver with his own equipment.”

It was the first time Pugh had dived and Pike was the only other person present, despite the Diving At Work regulations 1997 stating a commercial dive team of around five people is needed for at the cost of around £1,250 a day.

Pugh had been underwater for around 70 minutes when Pike realised he could no longer see a steam of air bubbles on the surface and called the emergency services.

Police said there is no question of Peterstone Lakes Golf Club being culpable in the death.


Martyn Clapham
By Martyn Clapham July 12, 2017 11:17
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