Former Wigan coach boss in court over fatal bus crush

The former boss of a Wigan coach operator has admitted to a health and safety failing which led to one employee being crushed to death by a bus at Chester Zoo.

Friday, 18th October 2019, 12:03 pm
The late Wayne Lannon

Wayne Lannon, a father-of-three from Beech Hill, died in June 2017 whilst carrying out repairs to a double decker.

The 46-year-old was working for Higher Ince-based FE Finch Coaches, who had taken a school trip to the attraction.

Mr Lannon is understood to have been carrying out repairs to the bus when a jack gave way, while he was examining it, and he sustained crush injuries.

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Police and paramedics from the North West Ambulance Service erected a cordon around the vehicle, which was located in a coach park close to the zoo’s entrance, while the incident was ongoing, but Mr Lannon was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cheshire Police said the Crown Prosecution Service had concluded that no criminal charges would be brought in connection with the death and that the matter had been passed to the coroner.

But a probe by the Health and Safety Executive was launched soon afterwards, lasting for more than two years, and the HSE has now confirmed it is leading a prosecution over Mr Lannon’s death.

At Chester Magistrates’ Court, Brian Finch, who was in charge of the coach firm at the time, was charged with one count of failing as an employer to discharge general health, safety and welfare duty to an employee, under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The 78-year-old, of Arbour Lane in Standish, pleaded guilty to the offence at the first opportunity.

He will appear again at the same courthouse on November 19.

At the time of his death, tributes were paid to Mr Lannon, who was described as “the kind of guy who would do anything for you”.

In a Facebook tribute, Collete Schofield added: “Well today something absolutely devastating happened.

“My husband has lost not only his work colleague but his best friend Wayne Lannon a absolute cracking fella.

“My heart is aching for all his family, Lesley Lannon and his beautiful children, who he absolutely adored.

“You will be so dearly missed Wayne the garage will never be the same again.”

One friend, who asked not to be named, said: “He was a belting bloke, who I knew through work, and the rugby. The kind of guy who would do anything for you and he will be really missed by those who knew him.”

“It’s the members of his family who I feel really sorry for now, his wife Lesley, and the children.

“He was the father of two girls and a lad and it’s just going to be heartbreaking for them right now.”

Another friend, David Carney, also added online: “Just heard the sad, sad news of the passing of Wayne Lannon, a top lad who always had time for you.”