A businessman has been fined £20,000 after a pensioner died from head injuries when an all-terrain vehicle he was driving overturned.
Magistrates in Darlington were told that farming and sporting estate worker James Gaffney, 79, was collecting dead pheasants when the accident happened.
He was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, the court was told.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is responsible for investigating accidents at work, immediately launched an investigation into the crash on the Urra estate to find out whether health and safety laws had been breached.
HSE investigators found that nobody using the vehicle involved in the crash had been told that they needed to wear a seatbelt.
Mr Gaffney, of Hutton Rudby, Stokesley, who is a retired businessman, died on isolated moorland while driving down a slope in the vehicle following a pheasant shoot at the estate.
Although no one saw the crash, the HSE said their investigations suggested the vehicle was going along a track across a slope when it overturned. Mr Gaffney was fatally injured and trapped inside the cab.
Mr Gaffney had been employed as a beater on pheasant shoots but in more recent years took on the less physically strenuous role of finding dead birds and moving them to the cold store on the estate.
Although the occasional work was paid, Mr Gaffney also considered the job a hobby, the magistrates were told.
The North Yorkshire estate’s co-owner and senior partner Malcolm John Reeve, from Cold Moor Cote Farm, Chopgate, Middlesbrough, received a fine of £20,000.
Mr Reeve, who pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, was also ordered to pay costs of £1,681.
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