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Safety breaches led to dad being crushed to death


James Lambert

James Lambert

James Lambert

Two former bar and nightclub owners have been ordered to complete community service for health and safety breaches after an employee was crushed to death in a lift shaft.

Stephen Hampson (31) was killed in August 2009 at the Blu Bar in Tallaght, Dublin.

Employees and managers regularly used a goods-only lift to move between floors at the bar, despite signs above the lift doors prohibiting people transport.

Kay Baxter, a Health and Safety Authority inspector, said a barmaid had seen TBC Bar Ltd company director James Lambert (46) using the lift after he had told her not to get into it about five months before Mr Hampson was killed.

CCTV footage showed former director David McKee (42) in the lift with his eight-year-old step daughter and Mr Hampson one hour before the fatality.

When asked if he considered the lift dangerous Mr McKee told gardai: "Before the accident I would have said no, afterwards of course. I wouldn't intentionally put anyone's life at risk."

He had attended the deceased's funeral and had shaken hands with members of Mr Hampson's family during a past court date.

McKee had resigned as company director in July 2008 to work at his haulage business, but the court heard that staff saw him as someone in authority.


Lambert, of Castlelawns, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to failing to manage and conduct work activities to ensure the safety, health and welfare of employees; as a consequence of which Mr Hampson suffered injury and died on August 23, 2009.

He also pleaded guilty to recklessly placing the safety, health and welfare of employees at risk at the venue on the same date. He has no previous convictions.

McKee, of Ellensborough Rise, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety, health and welfare of employees. He also pleaded guilty to placing the health, safety and welfare of workers at risk as a consequence of which Mr Hampson suffered personal injury and died. He has no previous convictions.

Ms Baxter told Alexander Owens SC, prosecuting, that a staff member found Mr Hampson after the lift failed to come up to his level when called.

He heard something dripping and saw the deceased's hand trapped in the lift shaft.

The father-of-two, who had recently been promoted to assistant bar manager, was declared dead shortly after emergency services arrived at the scene.

Ms Baxter said he was trapped between the lift car and the lift shaft and suffered fatal injuries.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring ordered the men to carry out 200 hours of community service each in lieu of a six month sentence. She warned them they will serve the full prison term if they appear before her again.