A HOUSING developer has been fined £300,000 for health and safety breaches after a contractor was buried alive.

Father-of-one Neil Dunstan, 41, died when the wall of a trench collapsed on top of him.

Workmate Karl Buck, from Boosbeck, near Guisborough, east Cleveland, suffered serious injuries after he was buried up to his waist.

The accident took place at the Springfield housing development, in Skelton, east Cleveland, in March 2004.

Both men were employed by Middleton St George company AW Cowan (Groundworks) Limited.

The company was sub-contracted by housebuilder George Wimpey (North East) Limited.

The two companies appeared at Teesside Crown Court for sentencing yesterday after they admitted breaking health and safety laws at an earlier hearing.

The case were brought by the Health and Safety Executive.

The court heard that Mr Dunstan, a foreman, from Davison Street, Lingdale, east Cleveland, FATAL ACCIDENT: The scene of the accident following efforts to save Mr Dunstan Global hunt for paedophile missing since 2002 POLICE are hunting a paedophile who stopped informing them of his whereabouts five years ago.

Pictures of how Stephen Clare looked in 2002 and how he might look now have been posted on the Crimestoppers' Most Wanted website.

The 35-year-old left the address he was staying at in Newcastle and is wanted for failing to comply with notification requirements.

He was convicted in the Nineties for offences against children in the West Midlands.

On his release from prison, he moved to Sussex, then Newcastle in 2000.

Since 2002, officers have made a number of inquiries with agencies about his whereabouts.

A spokesman said: "Rather than being a danger to the public he presents a risk to children.

"Inquiries to trace Clare have been ongoing since 2002. However, following a full case review earlier this year, information was received that caused Northumbria Police to reassess the risk posed by Clare. At that time we requested the assistance of Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), which resulted with the publication of his image on the internet."

He has been known to pose as a photographer and has undertaken qualifications to teach English as a foreign language and may have travelled overseas.

Police are making inquiries around the world to locate him.

The spokesman said: "Going public is very much a last resort after all other lines of inquiry have been carried out."

The CEOP website, which celebrated its first anniversary this week, has helped locate nine offenders in its first 12 months.

Anyone with information is asked to call 0845-604-3043, ext 62926.

By Joe Willis joe.willis@nne.co.uk was working with Mr Buck at the bottom of a two-and-a-half metre drainage trench.

A colleague above saw a crack appearing in the earth and shouted a warning. The men tried to jump clear but were engulfed in clay. Bryan Cox, prosecuting, said supports had not been used to strengthen the trench, despite an adjacent pit collapsing days earlier.

The contractors were not trained to dig deep trenches and no risk assessment had been carried out.

The court was told George Wimpey site manager Gary Petty and his deputy, John Moorhead, failed to supervise the workers and insist that supports were used.

It was said that an excavator working too close to the edge of the trench increased the danger.

Elizabeth O'Hare, in mitigation for AW Cowan, said her client's men took their orders from the George Wimpey site manager.

She said: "There has never been any attempt other than to accept some kind of culpability for what happened on the day.

"What happened was a terrible tragedy."

Simon Hilton, for George Wimpey, said the contractors took instructions from Mr Dunstan, rather than the George Wimpey managers.

However, he said: "There is no question that he (Gary Petty) should have been aware of what was going on - that was his responsibility."

He said George Wimpey spent more than £2.5m a year on health and safety.

Ordering George Wimpey to pay £300,000, and costs of about £28,000, Judge Peter Bowers said: "The accident was down to a very serious lapse in the safety procedures carried out by the site managers, Mr Petty and Mr Moorhead.

"They ignored their own safety manual their own common sense and experience when they knew Mr Dunstan and others were working in this lethal, dangerous trench.

"I am satisfied the culpability from (AW Cowan managing director) Mr Cowan was one of ignorance of the extent of the work his men had to do on site."

AW Cowan was fined £20,000, with costs of £5,000.

After the hearing, a spokesman for George Wimpey parent company Taylor Wimpey PLC, said: "Taylor Wimpey fully accepts the outcome of today's hearing and would like to express its regret and deepest sympathy to all those affected."