Spring trial over fruit packing store deaths

In this image made from video, police attend the scene after an incident on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, Thursday April 20, 2017. French media are reporting that two police officers were shot Thursday on the famed shopping boulevard. Picture: AP

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THE manager of a fruit-packing business on a Tory peer’s estate appeared in court charged with manslaughter after two farm workers died.

Scott Cain, 23, and Ashley Clarke, 24, originally from Emsworth, were discovered unconscious in an apple store on the Earl of Selborne, John Palmer’s 2,500-acre property in Liss.

Frantic colleagues tried in vain to save father-of-one Mr Cain and amateur rugby player Mr Clarke.

The pair had gone in to collect apples from the building, which is kept cool at low oxygen levels by a system that uses nitrogen.

A cause of death from post-mortems on their bodies has not yet been revealed.

Former farm manager Andrew Stocker, 56, from Bordon, Hampshire, appeared at Winchester Crown Court for a preliminary hearing accused of two counts of manslaughter through gross negligence.

The company, Blackmoor Estate Limited, also faces a Health and Safety at Work charge after the tragedy on February 18 2013.

Mr Clarke lived with girlfriend Rachel. The trial will begin next spring.

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