A JURY has returned a verdict of misadventure in an emotionally-charged inquest into the death of a Lancashire teenager who drowned in a quarry.
Dylan Ramsay’s mother, Beckie, shouted out in court as the owner of the land, Keith Ruttle gave evidence at the two day hearing.
The 13-year-old drowned at Hill Top Quarry, in Whittle-le-Woods, after jumping in to the water-filled quarry with friends in July 2011. During the second day of evidence, Keith Ruttle, director of Ruttle Plant Holdings Ltd, refused to answer a number of questions put to him by Coroner Dr James Adeley.
The businessman was exercising his right under a point of law that means witnesses are not be obliged to respond if it may incriminate them.
The company director, who employs 300 people, refused to answer questions on warning signs at the site and the risks the quarry posed.
Earlier, Imran Saddiqui, from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), described how there had not been signs indicating the dangers at the quarry.
He said: “As an inactive quarry there is no specific duties to provide warning signs, but if there are risks, there is an expectance that there is signage to reflect it.
“There was a risk of falling in and a risk if people entered the water, and I would normally expect a sign to say ‘keep out - danger’.”
The inquest heard how Dylan and his two friends, Kriss and Casey Sawyer, had entered the quarry through a gap in the fence. He had jumped in to the water, but the cold temperature caused the strong swimmer to experience difficulties and he drowned.
Addressing Dylan’s family, Coroner Dr James Adeley said: “It is extremely sad that you have come to court in these circumstances. Given the number of people in court, it shows that Dylan was deeply loved by his family.”
Dr Adeley also said he would support Mrs Ramsay with her water safety campaign ‘Doing it For Dylan’ and would write to local councils asking for them to get schools involved. He also gave Ruttles 14 days to ensure that warning signs were at every access point to the quarry.
Speaking outside court, after the verdict was recorded, Beckie said: “We are upset that Mr Ruttle failed to answer half of the questions that we were so desperately hoping for answers to.
“Lessons need to be learnt from Dylan’s death and the laws need to be changed to reflect how dangerous quarries are.”