Jailing employer 'won't bring him back', says brother of construction worker killed in Knightsbridge balcony plunge

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The family of a construction worker who plunged to his death as he renovated a multi-million-pound flat today reacted to the jailing of his employer by saying: “It won’t bring him back.” 

Tomasz Procko and Karol Szymanski fell 30ft from the balcony of the property in Cadogan Square, Knightsbridge, when the railings gave way as they tried to hoist up a sofa using ropes.

Mr Procko, 22, was pronounced dead at the scene. Mr Szymanski, 29, was taken to hospital in a critical condition but later died. The Poles were employed by Martin Gutaj’s company, Martinisation London Limited.

Gutaj, 44, of Brentford, was starting a 14-month jail term this week after being convicted in May of two health and safety breaches following the deaths in November 2014.

His company was found guilty of two counts of corporate manslaughter and two health and safety breaches, and was fined a total of £1.2 million.

Speaking from his home in Sanok, Poland, Mr Procko’s brother Jarosław, 21, said: “Tomasz was the best brother in the world. I think that this penalty won’t bring my brother back, so to me it doesn’t make a difference.

“But perhaps this verdict will make other employers think about breaking health and safety rules at work.” 

The Health and Safety Executive had warned Gutaj’s firm at a poor performance meeting in 2012 that its “health and safety culture” had to change, the Old Bailey heard.

But he had refused to pay £848 for an outside elevator to deliver the sofa in Cadogan Square, and told his workers to perform heavy lifting at height without the necessary training and supervision. Judge Gerald Gordon said: “That this manner was appallingly dangerous as it was, was not in dispute. It might be that he just didn’t care how his men got it up, as long as they did.”

In a statement, Mr Procko’s mother, Agnieszka, said: “Maybe if the standards were maintained then this terrible tragedy wouldn’t have happened.” His father, Witold, said Tomasz moved to London to help him pay off his debts.

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