Scots farmer over accidental death of young son

A father has spoken for the first time of his anguish following the accidental death of his young son on the family farm in Fife.

Stuart was killed on the family farm in Fife. Image: Facebook
Stuart was killed on the family farm in Fife. Image: Facebook

Stuart Nelson, three, died after being hit by a forklift truck driven by his father Richard at Cuttle Hill Farm near Crossgates in February 2017.

Mr Nelson told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme: “It was a total accident. No-one is to blame. He was in my blind spot”

He decided to speak out as figures revealed 29 people were killed in farming accidents in the UK over the last year.

Stuart had ran around a corner on at the family farm into the path of the reversing vehicle.

Mr Nelson, who appeared on the show with his wife Linzi, said: “It was a very painful day. For once it was a nice, dry, late winter/early spring day. Linzi was back from her work, so Stuart came out to be with me.”

The farmer was feeding the cows when the accident happened. He said he had asked Stuart to keep out the way.

He continued: “I was operating the forklift. I always kept my eyes wide open, making sure I knew he was out the way.

“When the accident happened, he was just in my blind spot. There was no blame. I just couldn’t see him for love nor money. It was a total accident. No-one’s to blame.

“When the accident happened, I was like ‘please God don’t let that be Stuart’. When I moved the machine back he was just lying there... lifeless.”

The Health and Safety Executive investigated the death, and sent a file to the procurator fiscal.

Mr Nelson added: “I was treated like a criminal. It started to affect me mentally, wondering what was going to happen.

“I wasn’t left with any time to grieve for my son.”

Figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) were revealed as part of Farm Safety Week and showed that 29 farm workers were killed in the last year, which is 18 times higher than the average across other major UK industries.