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Six years after Didcot Power Station collapse families still no clearer on what happened

On 23 February 2016, four men died when the boiler house of the disused coal-fired plant fell down while it was waiting to be demolished. Others suffered serious injuries.

Didcot A, the first station on the site, opened in 1970 and was demolished between 2014 and 2020.
 
Demolition workers Ken Cresswell, 57, John Shaw, 61, both from Rotherham, Michael Collings, 53, from Teesside, and Christopher Huxtable, 34, from Swansea, died in the collapse in 2016.
 
Thames Valley Police and the Health and Safety Executive immediately launched a joint investigation into suspicions of corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter and health and safety offences. But six years' on, there has been no report, no-one has been held responsible and there have been no answers.
 
Because of changes to environmental legislation, hundreds of power stations worldwide are waiting to be demolished. Other countries are looking to the UK for guidance on what went wrong at Didcot so they can avoid it.
 
 'It's still like it happened yesterday as we're still living in it. Nobody should go to work and not come home," Mr Cresswell's widow Gail said.
 
"The demolition industry needs answers to what went on at Didcot so that no other families are in his position again. My concern is that at six years, the investigation has gone on too long.
 
"Ken should be home with his family who love and miss him dearly, not laid on that hill. No one has been brought to task. Month after month, year after year, we're told again and again, 'still no updates' by the family liaison officer. It's really, really hard what the families are being put through. We're just not getting anywhere and it's shocking that we're just told the same thing every six months."
 
Keith Cundall represented three of the bereaved families in civil, work accident claims. Worse still, Keith said, the families have never been able to attend inquests into the deaths of the men to be able to move forward.
 
At a pre-inquest review on paper in July 2021, the police said they had taken 2,429 witness statements and had 185,000 pieces of digital evidence.
 
At the pre-inquest review, the Coroner was told that the joint investigation by the Police and Health and Safety Executive was ongoing. On this basis, the Coroner ordered a further review in 6 months' time.
 
"My concern is that once again the families are being given limited information about the status of the investigations, and there is no end in sight for them," Keith said
 
"It would be too awful if something similar happened while we're waiting and another family has to go through what we're going through," Gail said.

She added, "Kenny loved his job but he worked to live, and life meant being with his family. We've three daughters and two grandkids and one of them was always off having an adventure with Kenny.
 
"No-one can imagine how much we miss him."

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