Stable owners in the dock over bale death

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Stable owners accused of causing the death of a horse-lover must have their cases heard at crown court.

Fifty-four-year-old Stephen Hill and his 53-year-old wife Carol Hill were bailed to appear at Preston Crown Court on October 17 by District Judge Jeff Brailsford sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court, Lancs, today.

The couple who live on Coastal Road, Bolton-le-Sands, near Carnforth, run the Beaumont Farm Equitation Centre, Beaumont Grange Farm, Slyne-with-Hest, Lancaster.

It was at their equitation centre that 45 year old Charlotte Louise Conroy-Taylor died after a one ton hay bale fell on her.

She was preparing the stable used by her daughter’s horse, Flash, as the 13-year-old girl rode the animal. Mrs Conroy-Taylor worked for the Youth Offending Team in Lancaster before her death.

The Hills face two charges brought under the Health and Safety Act. They are accused of exposing Mrs Conroy-Taylor to risk by failing to make sure the stack of hay bales in the livery yard was safe and stable on May 31 2011.

They are also alleged to have failed in their duty of care by failing to check the safety of the stack, that it was not too high , it was properly supported and regularly checked.

They are further accused of failing to provide safety warnings to prevent unauthorised people climbing on the stack and failing to make a risk assessment of the stack.

Barry Berlin, prosecuting for Lancashire CIty Council, outlined the prosecution’s case to the judge. Lawyers for the defendants said their clients would not indicate a plea at this stage.

Members of Mrs Conroy-Taylor’s family, including her teenage daughter, Zara, were in the public gallery to hear the case.