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Verdict in on hay bale crushing death

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The result of a court action regarding the crushing death of Charlotte Louise Conroy-Taylor was announced on Dec. 4 in the Daily Mail. Conroy-Taylor, 45, died at the Beaumont Grange Farm’s equestrian center and pony club on May 31, 2011, when a half-ton hay bale fell on her and crushed her to death. The Beaumont Grange Farm is owned and run by Carol and Stephen Hill in Morecambe, Lancashire.

Large bales of hay were provided for the horses in a large hay trough but it was frequently empty so it became common practice for boarders to cut open the plastic wrap of a bale and remove hay to give to their horses. The bales were mostly piled five high, and only the bottom layer would be readily accessible. After a while, the stack of hay was undermined and very unstable.

This was the case when Conroy-Taylor was killed by the falling bale of hay.

The court heard testimony that Carol Hill was aware of this practice but seemingly failed to note the dangers, causing the resulting tragic consequences.

Judge Anthony Russell QC stated:

On the 31st of May, 2011 Charlotte Louise Conroy-Taylor lost her life at the age of 45 in shocking circumstances, witnessed by her 12-year-old daughter. The family’s loss can’t be underestimated.

Carol Hill received an eight-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, with 200 hours of unpaid community work. In addition, she is required to pay £10,000 in prosecution costs.

Stephen Hill received a sentence of a £2,500 fine and to also pay £10,000 in prosecution costs.

It is known that Conroy-Taylor’s family are suing the Hills for damages in civil court.

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