Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Witness heard cries for help

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DAVID?BENN, a former resident of Brittons X Road, St Michael, said construction work on a site behind an apartment complex at Arch Cot Terrace, Brittons Hill, was being carried out up to two days before the apartment building collapsed.
Benn was giving evidence at the inquest into the death of Donavere Codrington, his wife Cassandra and her three children, who all died on August 26, 2007, when the apartment building where they were living collapsed.
He told the court that Codrington moved into the apartment two weeks before the crash and he saw him on Friday, August 24, when he bought food from him at his mother’s house at Brittons Hill, where he sold food on weekends.
Benn told the court that the last time he saw Codrington was on August 25, when he drove his red car into the car park of the apartment complex.
He said he was in bed sleeping on August 26 when he heard a sound like a truck dumping marl. He jumped out of bed and looked through the window and was surprised to see the sea at Carlisle Bay because the apartment complex used to block that view.
He said he ran out and saw that the apartment where Codrington lived had “fallen into a hole”.
“I heard Donavere shouting. He said his leg was broken and he needed help. He said his wife was near him but he could not see the children.”
Benn said he heard the children crying loudly, and his brother Lionel went for a searchlight to spot into the hole.
He said they still could not see Donavere but they could hear him constantly crying out for help. Benn said he saw the collapsed roof of the apartment and realised that Donavere was under it.
“Quick so, a large boulder came down from Fields’ garage and fall into the hole. We ran back and after we came out we did not hear Donavere anymore,” he stated.
Queen’s Counsel Sir Richard Cheltenham put it to Benn that no excavation work took place on the site behind the apartment after July 29, but Benn stated that the equipment was removed from the site and parked “down below the road” on the evening of Friday, August 24.
He stated that he felt vibrations at his mother’s house when the equipment was being used and described the equipment as “a jackhammer but a bigger version”.
He also denied a suggestion by Sir Richard that the construction noise he heard was coming from a construction site at British American Insurance, saying that area was far away in Collymore Rock, St Michael.
He told the court that the construction work had started earlier that year and he noticed workmen from C.O. Williams at Chelston Avenue, behind the apartment building, using heavy equipment to cut down the rock behind the apartment.

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