POLICE have charged a man in connection with the death of two young men in the packing shed of an apple farm.
Andrew Stocker, the former manager of the fruit packing and storage operation at Blackmoor Estate Limited, near Liss, was charged with two counts of gross negligence manslaughter.
Ashley Clarke, 24, who grew up in Emsworth and played for Southsea Nomads Rugby Club, died alongside his colleague Scott Cain, 23, on February 18 last year.
Piers Arnold, specialist lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service’s Special Crime Division, said: ‘The two men, who worked for Blackmoor Estate Limited, died while retrieving apples from a long-term storage container in which fruit is kept at very low oxygen levels.
‘I have concluded there is sufficient evidence to charge.
‘I have also concluded there is sufficient evidence to charge the company, Blackmoor Estate Limited, with an offence under section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
‘These decisions were taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
‘I extend my sympathies to the families of Mr Cain and Mr Clarke.’
Andrew Stocker and Blackmoor Estate Limited will appear before Aldershot Magistrates’ Court on June 26.