AN on-the-Run father has been found guilty of manslaughter after a botched attempt to steal overhead cable resulted in his son being electrocuted to death.
It took jurors less than two hours to unanimously find Shaun Stewart, 52, guilty of causing the death of his 29-year-old son Brent Shaun Campbell – who suffered a lethal 11,000 volt electric shock during the attempted theft.
Stewart was found guilty of the offence in his absence after fleeing from court on day seven of his trial.
He was sentenced to five years behind bars for causing his son’s manslaughter and was given three years for attempted theft at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday. The sentences will run concurrently.
During the trial, the court heard how in March 2012, the pair travelled to Tyers Hall Pumping Station – a Northern Power Grid circuit breaker near Barnsley,, which provides electricity to 3,000 customers in the area – with the intention to steal what they believed was expensive copper cable.
What they did not realise was that the cable was actually made of considerably less valuable aluminium.
The pair sawed down a pole which supported three overhead cables so that the power would short-circuit and be safe to touch.
But the pair did not realise that lines are automatically energised three minutes after a short-circuit occurs.
As the cable was re-energised, ex-soldier Mr Campbell suffered a fatal electric shock and Stewart suffered third-degree burns to his leg, face, and neck.
Sentencing Stewart, Judge Julian Goose QC, said: “This was a particularly reprehensible form of conduct which had the effect of killing a young man.
“There is a clear and obvious risk caused to others by stealing from the national grid. I must reflect in my sentence that the life was lost of a young man who was 29-years-old.”
“This was a carefully planned offence, colluding a prior to visit to this scene and getting equipped for the offence.”
The court had previously heard that after the incident Stewart returned home to his wife – without their son and suffering severe injuries – and claimed he could not remember what had happened.
An ambulance was called and Stewart was taken to Barnsley Hospital for treatment.
The court heard a police officer – who had seen the large blue flash when the cables tripped from two miles away – was called to the pumping station following reports from Northern Power Grid employees that a body had been discovered in a field, 40 metres from where an attempted theft had taken place.
When the area was confirmed to be safe at 3.02am, Mr Campbell was found and pronounced dead at the scene.
Having already been arrested for theft following suspicion over his injuries, Stewart later told police that he and his son had tried to steal cable. He said that he had suggested the idea to his son as they both needed money.
The court heard that since the 1970s, Stewart had appeared before the courts 26 times in relation to 82 offences, mostly for dishonesty.
In 2002 Stewart was jailed for 66 months for selling class A drugs crack-cocaine and heroin.
In 2006 he was sentenced to 10 months in prison for firearms offences. In 2011 he was fined in magistrates for selling class B drugs.