Businessman jailed for fireworks blaze which claimed two lives

A STAFFORD businessman who was found guilty of manslaughter following the deaths of two men at his fireworks firm in 2014 has today (June 13) been jailed for 10 years.
Richard Pearson, aged 44, was found guilty of two counts of manslaughter by gross negligence on May 22, following a five-week trial at Stafford Crown Court.
Sentencing, Judge Michael Chambers, said: “You’ve known your culpability from the start, but you have chosen to falsely blame others.”
He added that Pearson had ‘shown little remorse’ and demonstrated ‘arrogant recklessness’ for the safety of others.
The court heard that emergency services had been called to SP Fireworks, in Tilcon Avenue, Baswich, following reports of a fire and a series of explosions early in the evening of October 30, 2014.
The intensity of the fire and continual explosion of fireworks was such that emergency services could not get inside and two men, Simon Hillier and Stewart Staples, were trapped inside. They died as a result of smoke inhalation, but Pearson, the owner of SP Fireworks, managed to get out.
Allan Compton, prosecuting, said Pearson was badly injured by the fire, but told a witness the premises were ‘rammed with explosives.’ He also told a paramedic: “I’m going to prison, there’s going to be dead (people) in there because of me.”
Detective Inspector Glyn Pattinson, of Staffordshire Police, who led the investigation, said: “We are glad that Richard Pearson has now been sentenced.
“During the lengthy investigation and throughout his trial Pearson attempted to offer alternative explanations for the fire which thankfully the jury did not accept. He always sought to blame others and never once took responsibility for his own actions or showed any remorse for what happened that evening.”