A COWBOY roofer whose dangerous working practices killed a teenage employee has been cleared of taking part in a £17,500 lottery scam.
Colin Jeffery is serving a five-year sentence for the manslaughter of 17-year-old Beau Jennians, who died when he fell 22ft from a ladder while painting a house in Abbotskerswell at the end of 2014. He was also facing a second trial over his alleged involvement in a fraud which was said to involve £17,500 worth of tickets at a Post Office in South Devon. Jeffery, 58, of Durham Close, Paignton, denied a single count of fraud and was found not guilty by Recorder Mr John Williams at Exeter Crown Court. He was not present at the short hearing and Mr Mark Jackson, defending, said he had a medical appointment which required him to be taken from jail to hospital. Mr David Sapiecha, prosecuting, said the decision had been taken to offer no evidence because it was not in the public interest, given the length of the sentence Jeffery is already serving. The Recorder agreed with the decision, which he said was a ‘very sensible course.’ Martin Smith, 40, of Duchy Drive, Paignton, is due to stand trial later this month at Exeter Crown Court over seven allegations of fraud. They all relate to lottery tickets worth around £17,500 from the Post Office where Smith worked. Jeffery was jailed for five years in November after a judge branded him as callous, arrogant, cavalier and utterly reckless. South Devon College student Beau was moonlighting from his electrician’s course and had been working for Jeffery’s Utterly Gutterly for four months when he died in December 2014. Jeffery undercut reputable builders by refusing to use scaffolding on any of his jobs and exploited the bravado of teenagers like Beau, who had taken a selfie of himself hanging by a rope from a chimney just days before his death. He had fallen off a ladder just weeks before but escaped injury when he landed in shrubbery. Instead of improving safety, Jeffery told him off for spilling paint on a customer’s driveway. Jeffery claimed he was not Beau’s employer and the teenager was working for himself - but the jury rejected his story and found him guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence. Keen skateboarder Beau, who had a second part-time job at McDonalds, fell off a ladder as he was painting fascia board under the gutter at The Coach House in Abbotskerswell.