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Duo face trial over ELO cellist's death under massive silage bale

Two men are to stand trial over alleged health and safety offences linked to the death of a founder member of 1970s pop group Electric Light Orchestra.

Michael Edwards, 62, the band's former cellist, was killed by a 63-stone (400kg) bale of silage which rolled on to his moving van from a field as he drove along a rural road in Devon.

Farmer Brian Burden, 47, and agricultural contractor Russell Williams, 23, appeared at Plymouth Crown Court today, where they both denied two charges relating to the incident.

Edwards died instantly when the bale landed on the cab of his bottled-water delivery van after rolling down a steep-sided field next to the A381 near Totnes on September 3 2010.

Despite the efforts of a doctor, who was caught in the ensuing traffic jam, and a local GP, he died from massive head injuries.

Burden, of Bickleigh Farm, Halwell, and Williams, of Forces Cross, Blackhawton, both in south Devon, each denied two charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act, of failing to ensure the safety of people at the scene and of failing to carry out a risk assessment before starting work.

Burden owed the field from which the bale rolled and Williams was the contractor doing the baling work.

Judge Francis Gilbert released them both on unconditional bail ahead of a trial on a date yet to be set.

Belfast Telegraph


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