Farmer tells of son’s death at Royal Highland Show

Ben Craggs

Ben Craggs

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A FARMER has told how he left his toddler son alone for “just two or three seconds” before he was killed by a falling concrete bollard.

Three-year-old Ben Craggs died at the Royal Highland Show in Ingliston in June 2008.

The organiser of the annual event – the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland – is on trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, where it denies eight charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

It is accused of failing to ensure that moveable concrete bollards were stabilised by clamping, one of which collapsed on Ben after he fell and grabbed a rope connecting a pair of them.

Ben’s father Jonathan Craggs, who farms at Sedgefield in County Durham, today told the court how the family, including the boy’s mother Dawn Surtees, were at Ingliston to show cattle on the openeing day of the event.

Mr Craggs, 54, said that after watering and cleaning his cattle to make sure they were ready to be displayed, he and Ben went for a walk round the machinery section, where he bought his son a toy digger.

He said that he had been out of his son’s sight for a few seconds to get his coat from his lorry when he heard a shout from a security guard that Ben had fallen.

“I ran round and he was lying there,” Mr Craggs told the jury of nine women and six men. “I saw this concrete bollard lying on top of Ben’s head.”

Mr Craggs said he and another man lifted it off to find that his son was bleeding from his nose and ears.

He told the court he couldn’t remember an ambulance arriving, and said: “I kept asking ‘Ben, don’t go Ben. Don’t leave us. Keep with us’.”

Ben was rushed to the Sick Kids hospital as his parents followed in a police car, but doctors couldn’t save the three-year old.

Mr Craggs told the court: “A doctor came through to give us the bad news that Ben had passed away.”

Defence counsel Peter Gray opened the trial by entering a plea of not guilty to all eight charges which cover a period from October 2, 2005 until November 19, 2009.

The society is accused of failing to take action about defects in its health and safety arrangements and employing a a health and safety co-ordinator who did not have sufficient qualifications or training.

It is also accused of failing to identify the risks of the bollards overturning, exposing employees of contractors and members of the public to risk of severe injury and death.

The trial before Sheriff Paul Arthurson QC continues.