A canal trust has been fined thousands of pounds after a collapsing wall killed one of its volunteers.

Peter Konitzer died while helping to restore part of the Wilts and Berks Canal at Pewsham at around 12.30pm on August 24, 2016.

The 63-year-old had been inside the excavation removing temporary propping that was supporting the wall when the section collapsed.

A joint investigation by the Health and Safety Executive and Wiltshire Police found that the temporary propping was inadequate and there was no clear method for the safe installation or removal of props during this renovation work.

A representative for the trust, of Dauntsey Lock in Chippenham, appeared at Swindon Magistrates' Court on Monday, June 24, to plead guilty to failing to ensure that Mr Konitzer and other volunteers working on-site were not exposed to health and safety risks.

HSE inspector James Lucas said: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident. The situation which led to Peter’s death would not have arisen had the temporary structural works been properly planned and implemented to ensure a suitable safe system of work prior to the incident.

“It is essential that those in control of work of this nature devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction, and training to their workers to ensure their safety.”

The trust received a fine of £30,000 and must also pay £6,043.18 in compensation along with court costs of £10,822 plus £170 to fund victim services - a total of £47,035.18.

This prosecution was brought by HSE enforcement lawyer Iain Jordan and supported by HSE paralegal officer Rebecca Withell.

A Wilts & Berks Canal Trust spokesperson said: “Peter Konitzer was a close friend of many in the Trust and was warmly valued as one of its volunteers.

“His tragic death in 2016 had a deep and lasting impact, and he remains in the minds of many of our volunteers on a daily basis. Once again, we wish to express our heartfelt condolences to his family.

“Since then, the trust has continuously reviewed and improved every aspect of its organisation, particularly with regard to health and safety measures, and has done everything it can to ensure that such a terrible accident never happens again.

“Nothing is more important to us than the continued safety of our volunteers.”

Mr Konitzer was a retired petroleum reservoir engineer and petroleum economist who started volunteering on the canal in March 2016.