Leicestershire: Two men drowned in tanker carrying semi-liquid pig feed

Two men drowned after falling into a tanker containing semi-liquid pig feed

The company Gavin and Nathan worked for has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter (Image: SWNS)

A young father-to-be was one of two workers who drowned when he fell into a tanker carrying semi-liquid pig feed.

Nathan Walker, 19, and colleague Gavin Rawson, 35, were working at Greenfeeds Ltd when they were overcome by toxic fumes and collapsed.

The couple, who were garden workers for the food waste recycling company, were found face down in liquid in the tank on the afternoon of December 22, 2016.

They were pronounced dead at the scene at Church Farm in Normanton, Leicestershire.

Nathan had worked for the company for two months when tragedy struck and had never met his son, who was born 15 days later.

Now Greenfeeds Ltd has been found guilty of double count of manslaughter at Leicester Crown Court after a six week trial.

Company directors Ian Leivers, 59, and his wife Gillian, 60, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, were also sentenced to death, along with employee Stewart Brown, 69.

Mr Leivers was found guilty of breaching health and safety codes, while his wife was convicted of two counts of grossly negligent manslaughter.

She was also convicted of health and safety violations.

The road tanker where Nathan and Gavin died.

When the alarm went off, a saw was used to cut holes in the tanker’s side (Image: Leicestershire Police / SWNS)

Brown, from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, was found guilty of health and safety violations but acquitted of two counts of grossly negligent manslaughter.

The judges heard the company made biofuel and pig feed from recycled products, which were then delivered by road tankers.

On the afternoon of December 22, Mr Walker had climbed into a tanker to pressure wash it so it could be emptied of pig feed.

When he got into trouble, he called for help and Mr. Rawson rushed over to help him.

Mr Rawson climbed into the tanker and tried to take Mr Walker to safety, but both men were overwhelmed by the fumes and drowned in the liquid.

Nathan Walker.

Nathan Walker, 19, never saw his son’s birth (Image: Leicestershire Police / SWNS)

The men were pulled from the tanker after holes were cut in the side wall with a saw.

An autopsy revealed they died as a result of drowning in animal feed.

The court heard Ms Leivers and Brown’s men had been ordered to clean the tanker, despite the absence of a risk assessment.

Police found that company employees had previously raised concerns about the dangers of cleaning the tankers without a respirator, but they were ignored.

The two men’s families released poignant tributes to them after the guilty verdicts.

Gavin Rawson, 35,

Gavin Rawson, 35, died after trying to help Nathan but was also overcome by fumes (Image: Leicestershire Police / SWNS)

In a statement, Nathan’s family said the teen’s life “came to an end through no fault of his own.”

“Nathan was expecting his first child with his partner when he died,” it said.

“Nathan was so excited to be a father.

‘He should have been here to see his son born. He should be here with his son by now.

“He was a healthy young man with his whole life ahead of him.

“Nathan’s death was cruel and made no sense. The shock, horror and sadness to hear that our son was killed will stay with us for the rest of our lives.’

Mr Rawson’s family also paid tribute to their “hero”.

They said: “Three days before Christmas 2016, our beloved son, brother and uncle Gavin was snatched from us in a matter of seconds, without warning, without reason and without explanation.

“No one should have to learn of the death of their son like we do.

“If only the health and safety guidelines had been followed, Gavin would still be here.

“We just want him back in our lives but know we can’t have him.”

The Leivers and Brown were released on bail and ordered to return to court for sentencing on June 16.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/08/leicestershire-two-men-drowned-in-tanker-of-semi-liquid-pig-feed-16791100/ Leicestershire: Two men drowned in tanker carrying semi-liquid pig feed

Justin Scacco

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