Whistleblower denied permission to give evidence on Crossrail death

René Tkacik
René Tkacik

Lawyers for the parents of a 44-year-old man who died during the construction of London’s Crossrail project have been denied permission to present evidence from a whistleblower on the project, which they say shows the conditions workers were exposed to prior to the fatal accident.

The Coroner, Mary Hassell at St Pancras Coroner’s Court yesterday ruled at the start of the eight-day hearing that the whistleblower was not an appropriate witness but that should matters evolve during the course of the inquest an application to have his testimony heard could be renewed.

René Tkacik, 44, who died in 2014 after he was hit by a section of freshly applied shotcrete at Crossrail’s Fisher Street site.

Helen Clifford from the law firm Leigh Day, acting for Mr Tkacik’s parents, made an application for evidence which had been gathered during the course of the investigating into his death to be admitted, but the Coroner ruled it was inadmissible.

The Coroner heard from the legal team for Mr and Mrs Tkacik, who argued that evidence from the former Crossrail worker should be submitted to the Court however, this was contested by lawyers representing Crossrail and BFK Joint Venture, the contractors who employed Mr Tkacik.

Coroner Hassall denied the request saying that it is not a public enquiry to consider Crossrail’s activities across London but did leave the possibility open that the evidence could be admitted later in the eight day inquest.

The inquest will hear how Mr Tkacik was crushed to death on 7 March 2014 as he sprayed concrete through a hose – known as “shotcreting” used by Crossrail contractors.

Helen Clifford said: “It is very important that the Coroner has the full picture of what conditions were like for workers both during the time René was working on the project but also before, so that previous similar incidents can be considered.”