A man accused of killing a teenage colleague by starting up an oil rig cable pulling machine while the youth was inside yesterday told a jury he was not present when the 17-year-old was injured – and “thought he was taking a breather” when he found him unconscious.
Dean Reynolds said he had walked into a building at Denholm MacNamee’s industrial cleaning and painting facility in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, and found Michael McLean on the floor.
Giving evidence in his own defence Reynolds – who is accused of the culpable homicide of Mr McLean – told the High Court in Aberdeen he “thought he was taking a breather” and that the teenager wasn’t badly hurt.
The court heard Reynolds told police he didn’t think Mr McLean – who was helping him prepare the cable spooling machine for painting – would have been able to reach the starting handle for the machine from inside the drum where he was found.
And he denied ever starting up the machine while Mr McLean was inside it on August 14 2015, the last day of the teenager’s summer job at the firm before he was due to resume school.
The court later heard that less than two hours after the incident Reynolds had texted his girlfriend telling her he was uneasy over what had happened.
The trial earlier heard how the teenager was found unconscious and bleeding from the ears on the floor of a paint shed in which sat an industrial spooling machine used to raise and lower subsea cables from oil platforms and boats.
A post-mortem examination found he had suffered a broken vertebrae in his neck, which caused a tear in his spinal cord leading to cardiac arrest which starved his brain of oxygen.
Reynolds, 23, of Regent Street, Keith, Aberdeenshire, denies a charge of culpable homicide.
A charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice was withdrawn.
The trial continues.