A man accused of causing the death of a north-east schoolboy in an industrial yard allegedly told workmates the teen looked like he was lying down “taking a breather” when he found him, a court has heard.
Dean Reynolds, 23, is on trial at the High Court in Aberdeen accused of culpable homicide over the death of Michael McLean.
Mr McLean, who was 17 at the time, died after an incident at the premises of Denholm MacNamee Ltd, at Inverurie Business Park, on August 14 2015.
Reynolds denies causing the death of the teen by culpably and recklessly operating a cable spooler machine, causing it to rotate while Mr McLean was within the drum of the machine, as a result of which he sustained severe injuries and later died in hospital.
He faces an alternative charge of failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of persons affected by his acts or omissions at work.
Reynolds – whose address was given in court papers as Regent Street, Keith – also denies a second charge of attempting to pervert the ends of justice by discarding two pairs of work boots belonging to him.
On the second day of the trial, evidence was given by Lewis Massie, a water jet technician at the firm’s Inverurie base, who had been working on the spooler machine earlier in the day before the incident.
Asked by advocate depute Richard Goddard if he remembered if the spooler had been operated or not, he said: “Yes.”
Mr Goddard replied: “It was? By who?”
He said: “Dean.”
The advocate depute asked: “Were you aware that there were any plans to carry out any pranks or anything like that on Mikey because it was his last day?” He replied: “Not that I’m aware of.”
Mr Massie said he became aware something had happened when everybody was running towards the paint tent and he followed them.
Asked to describe the scene he found he said it was “horrible”.
Defence QC Ian Duguid asked the witness if he had spoken to Reynolds about what happened and he initially said no.
However, Mr Duguid said: “Did he say anything about a breather? Did he say he found him lying almost like he was having a breather from painting?”
Mr Massie replied: “That rings a bell.”
Referring to a statement Mr Massie made to police, Mr Duguid said: “It says ‘when Dean spoke in the bothy later about how he found him he said he was lying almost like he was taking a breather from painting’. Do you see that?”
He said: “Yes.”
Mr Duguid also asked: “Did you say to the police that Dean is not really a practical joker?”
He replied that he did.
Questioning the witness again, Mr Goddard said: “When you saw Michael McLean you described what you saw as ‘horrible’. When you saw Michael McLean did he look like he was just having a breather?”
Mr Massie said: “No.”
Evidence was also given by Ross Christie, 20, a trainee technician at Denholm MacNamee, whose cousin is Reynolds’s brother.
The advocate depute asked him, when he first arrived on the scene of the incident: “Was it obvious to you that Mikey was badly hurt?”
He said it was, adding: “There was blood coming from his ears and he was really pale.”
The prosecution asked: “Did you not just think he was having a breather?”
He said: “Not with blood coming out his ears.”
The court was then shown CCTV of the yard as people rushed to and from the scene of the incident in the paint tent.
Mr Goddard said: “You’ve told us Dean Reynolds is somebody you’re related to, you’re friends with, you’ve known him for years before you started at Denholm MacNamee haven’t you?”
He said: “Yes.”
The advocate depute continued: “Would you agree the footage shows you going off, just the two of you, to the side of the forklift and the two of you together, in each other’s company until you go to the workshop?”
Mr Christie agreed and Mr Goddard added: “So we’re talking over two minutes just the two of you in private at this point?”
He agreed, and when asked what they spoke about, said: “I can’t remember speaking to him.”
Mr Christie added: “I was in shock. I’d never seen anything like this before.
“All I can remember is seeing him down the side of the tent and that’s it. I don’t know if I spoke to him.”
Mr Duguid asked the witness if he was trying to “protect” Reynolds in any way. He replied: “No.”
Another witness, Iain Campbell, was also working at the premises on the day of the incident.
Asked to describe Mr McLean’s appearance when he arrived on the scene by Mr Goddard, he said: “He was unresponsive and his face was going blue, not a normal colour.”
Mr Duguid drew his attention to a comment he made to a police officer.
He said: “Did you say to him ‘it was in my mind to do CPR but I just freaked out’? Mr Campbell said he did.
The trial before Lord Beckett continues.