Bridge-collapse couple seek inquiry

Last updated 10:03 05/11/2010

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Wanganui couple Keith and Margaret Berryman, who were prosecuted after an army-built bridge collapsed on their property and killed a man, have written to police calling for support for a commission of inquiry into their case.

 The couple also want police to reopen an investigation into a fire that burnt their home to the ground shortly after the incident, The Dominion Post reported today.

The army-built bridge, which led to their King Country farm, collapsed in 1994 and killed beekeeper Ken Richards as he travelled across in his honey-laden truck and the escalating costs of defending the case cost the Berrymans their farm.

They were prosecuted by the Labour Department a year after the accident, but the case was dismissed when it was ruled that the bridge was not Mr Richards' workplace.

In December, the Berrymans ''reluctantly'' accepted a $150,000 settlement from the Government as compensation for the collapse of the bridge.

Police spokeswoman Kim Perks yesterday confirmed a letter had been received from the Berrymans but it was too early for police to comment.

In the letter the Berrymans said they were concerned there was no police investigation on the day of the fatal accident.

They also asked for the reopening of an investigation into the blaze that gutted their home on the day they were appearing before a parliamentary select committee.

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- NZPA

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