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Mr Clive Irwin
Email Andrew Bhogal (Document B)
Letter P O’Connor (Document C)
Report I Schultz (Document D)
13 August 2019
1. I am Mr Clive Irwin of “The Cottage”, Westwood Road, Christlethorpe, Guildshire GU89 3RW, currently partner at The Keyboard Partnership, and party to the proceedings. This witness statement was prepared on the basis of my proof of evidence.
2. Our firm, the Keyboard Partnership were approached in August of Two Thousand and Eighteen by Mr and Mrs Tabalo of “The Old Rectory”, Field Way, Castle Morpeth, Northumberland to build a concert grand piano for their son. The delivery of the same was scheduled for end of May two thousand and nineteen.
3. Upon completion of the work, the piano was inspected by Mr and Mrs Tabalo in April Two Thousand and Nineteen and the agreed fee of One Hundred Twenty Four Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy Six pounds was paid to us at the time. Delivery charges of Ten Thousand pounds were to be paid at the time of delivery. The piano was to be delivered in the week commencing the twentieth May two thousand and nineteen.
4. We approached Road Haulage (Guildshire) Limited for the delivery and we spoke to the director, Mr O’Connor who visited our premises. We informed Mr O’Connor that the packing would be done in a wooden container and piano would be secured to the container by bolts. Mr O’Connor informed us that a crane would be used to lift the piano on and off the lorry as it is heavy.
5. The agreement between our firm and Road Haulage (Guildshire) Limited was that we would pack the piano in a container and Road Haulage (Guildshire) would transport it by lorry and crane to Mr and Mrs Tabalo’s house on the twenty fifth May two thousand and nineteen. For the purpose of identifying the centre of gravity for the load to be transported safely, Mr O’Connor gave us a large red star shaped sticker.
6. The container was purchased by our firm and the packing was done under the supervision of our general works manager, Andrew Bhogal. I refer to email by A. Bhogal (marked as Document B), which was sent us on the twenty third May two thousand and nineteen where he noted that the team had some difficulty locating the centre of gravity, but he was confident that the sticker placed on the outside of the container recording this was hundred percent accurate.
7. Andrew Bhogal also made a statement, which is adduced here as hearsay on the twenty third May two thousand and nineteen on a phone call, where he stated: “We’ve packed the piano in the crate and I’ve personally secured each of the four bolts into their washer securing mechanism. Our tests show that the piano will not move when in transit.” On the same date, Andrew also called me and made the statement: “We’ve packed the piano in the crate and I’ve personally secured each of the four bolts into their washer securing mechanism. Our tests show that the piano will not move when in transit.” This statement is hearsay.
8. On the twenty fifth May two thousand and nineteen, Mr O’Connor and his staff lifted the container of piano, which we had moved out into the yard, directly onto the back of a lorry and another crane was to meet us at Mr and Mrs Tabalo’s house the same evening for the disembarking as per the statement made by Mr O’Connor.
9. At Mr and Mrs Tabalo’s house, the driveway was too narrow for the lorry, and the crane had to take the container up the driveway. Mr Howarth hooked the container up to the crane and pulled away up the drive. Mr O’Connor took the footpath and I followed the crane. The container started to swing once crane accelerated and then toppled over and fell on its side at the bend. Both the container and the piano were damaged in this fall.
10. Mr O’Connor suggested to leave the piano for repair. However, I that the piano be closely inspected at the workshop. This was returned to us on the twenty sixth May two thousand and nineteen.
11. I refer to letter by Clive Irwin (marked as Document C) dated Fourth June Two Thousand and Nineteen, which states that their firm will not be responsible for the damage to the piano on the ground that the reasons for the container falling of the crane are the securing of the piano to the container by 4 bolts, each bolt having a washer securing mechanism; and placing of the sticker on the side of the container.
12. I refer to the report by Ivan Schultz (marked as Document D), which notes that the placing of the red sticker did not materially contribute to the container falling from the crane, that the piano was adequately secured by bolts and washer securing mechanisms to the base of the container; and the likely cause of the fall is the possibility of the driver of the crane turning too fast and too tightly at the bend.
13. It is my belief that the accident was caused by the crane driver driving too fast around the bend. My belief is based on the statement made by our senior piano restorer, Nigella Lake on the thirty first May two thousand nineteen, wherein she stated that: “Leonard’s my stupid cousin. He always drives too fast.” This statement is hearsay.
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