Wednesbury freight firm fined £1.2m over boy's electrocution

Written by on January 9, 2020

A rail freight company has been fined £1.2m after a 13-year-old boy was electrocuted by a 25,000 volt overhead power line at a train depot.

He suffered extensive burns while his friend was also injured and a third now has post-traumatic stress disorder, Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court heard.

The judge said the after effects of the incident in Wednesbury could last for the rest of their lives.

DB Cargo UK admitted a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

It was also ordered to pay £27,873 in costs.

The court heard how the three teenagers, who can not be named due to their ages, went into Bescot Yard in June 2017 after climbing through a hole in the fence.

Two of them then climbed on top of a train with one “planning to take a selfie”, the court was told.

There was a “loud bang” and one of the boys was set on fire as he suffered an electric shock.

William Davis, prosecuting for the Office of Rail and Road, said the boy suffered 40% burns and had to be airlifted to hospital.

His friend also suffered burns, a broken arm and now has an irregular heart rate.

Mr Davis said children would frequently enter the yard and the perimeter fence was in poor condition.

John Cooper, for DB Cargo UK, told the court the issue of trespass was “endemic”.

Judge Michael Wheeler said the after effects for the three boys would “endure for a long time, if not for the whole of their lives”.

Speaking after the hearing, Richard Sears of DB Cargo UK, said since the incident the firm had invested more than £2m in improving security around its sites.

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