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Millionaire Ukipper is jailed over the death of builder

Garden horror: The 9ft trench that
collapsed, covering builder Peter
Clements in tons of earth
PICS: SWNS

A PROPERTY tycoon and ex-Ukip parliamentary candidate has been jailed after a worker was crushed to death digging a drain for his leaking swimming pool.

Keith Crawford was responsible when a trench collapsed and covered Peter Clements in tons of earth in January 2015.

Crawford, 74, who has a rental property portfolio worth £7million but did not consider himself wealthy, was accused of ignoring safety warnings and refusing to pay for measures which would have prevented the tragedy.

‘Petulant’: Keith Crawford (above) who refused to pay for safety measures before the death of Mr Clements (below) PICS: SWNS

Following a trial at Exeter crown court, Crawford, a widower and former Army warrant officer, was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter and breaching the Health and Safety Act.

Mr Clements, 48, who had carried out previous work for Crawford, was digging a soakaway with his son Ryan for the outdoor pool and had raised concerns about the safety of the trench, which was 3ft wide and 9ft at its deepest point. Richard Smith QC, defending, said: ‘What [Crawford] did was completely out of character. Perhaps it was petulant, perhaps ill-thought. Now he will have to live with it for the rest of his life.’

The defendant, of Pocombe Bridge, Exeter, was jailed for 30 months and will pay prosecution costs of £15,000.

Passing sentence at Bristol crown court, Mr Justice Dingemans said: ‘No sentence I can impose can reflect the loss to Mr Clements’s wife Amanda and her family.’

Crawford stood in several council elections for Ukip and in 2010 and 2015 contested the Exeter parliamentary seat.