Scottish man lost leg in horror grinder accident as pal admits breaching safety laws

Christopher King
Christopher King -Credit:Pressteam Scotland

A tree surgeon whose friend lost a leg in a horror accident while trying to remove a tree stump has admitted breaching health and safety laws.

Christopher King, 41, asked Stephen Milloy to dig out the stump from a garden in East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, where they were carrying out landscaping. Milloy, 22, set up a stump grinder in the garden but as he was beginning to work he noticed bricks beside the tree and decided to remove them.

But his trousers became entangled in the machine and dragged him towards the spinning wheel in July 2019. A neighbour and other workmen heard screams coming from the garden and rushed to help distraught Milloy, reports the Daily Record.

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He was rushed to hospital where medics discovered he had shattered his ankle and required surgery to amputate his left leg from the knee down. An investigation discovered the grinder had faults with safety features including a handle which should have stopped the machine when Milloy released his grip.

King, of East Kilbride, appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court and admitted breaching health and safety laws. The court was told the men remain friends and Milloy continues to work for him on an 'ad-hoc' basis.

An investigation discovered the grinder had faults with safety features (stock image)
An investigation discovered the grinder had faults with safety features (stock image) -Credit:Getty Images

Milloy did not launch any claims against King in the aftermath of the incident. Experts discovered the 'most significant' factor was the failure of King to maintain his equipment which was in an 'unsafe' condition.

Wendy Culross, defence advocate, said: "This has been a very difficult time for both him and the injured party. He takes full responsibility for what happened that day and is extremely distressed by that, not least because of his friendship with the injured party and the friendship they have had throughout this incredibly difficult time has been a source of support for both of them.

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"He describes what happened as being an internal culture shift for him and he now thinks about health and safety every day and says this was a wake-up call."

The court was told there had been no health and safety breaches by King since or before the accident. Sheriff John Speir deferred sentence on King until June for reports and ordered him to provide tax returns and a list of assets.