BROTHERS and their company have been found guilty of the corporate manslaughter of a roofer who plummeted headfirst to his death through a dirty skylight.

Bulgarian Nikolai Valkov, of Warwick Road, Edmonton, was only in his first week of work as a contractor at Ozdil Investments Ltd, Harlow, when he fell and suffered fatal injuries.

Chelmsford Crown Court was told that there was no safety netting, harnesses, hard hats or ladder and a "home-made cherry picker" was used to lift people and materials.

Prosecutor Christine Agnew QC said the skylight was not obvious and she told the court : “The roof was fragile. It was covered in dirt and lichen.”

A fellow worker who was following Mr Valkov said he saw him “vanish without any noise”.

The 63-year-old died three hours later in hospital. His fractured skull was consistent with striking the ground inside the building “while in a near vertical position”.

A new roof was being installed on top of the existing asbestos.

Ozdil Investments Ltd pleaded not guilty to a charge of corporate manslaughter in which it was claimed that their gross breach of duty caused Mr Valkov's death.

The company also denied failing in its health and safety at work duty concerning exposure of workers to risk of falls from height .

Ozdil is run by four Turkish brothers, two of whom were on trial with the company.

Firat Ozdil, of Bowood Road, Enfield and Ozgur Ozdil, of Cherrydown Avenue, Chingford, pleaded not guilty to failing to discharge their duty as directors but were convicted this week.

Another company, Koseoglu Metal Works, which is based at one of the units in Ozdil House, had pleaded guilty earlier to corporate manslaughter.

And its boss, Kadir Kose, Kose, 51, of Sylvia Court, Cavendish Street, Hoxton, has breaching health and safety rules.

After a four week trial the jury convicted Firat and Ozgur Ozdil and their company of all charges.

The Ozdils claimed that they knew nothing about roofing and relied on their professional advisers and the contractor.

They, Koseoglu Metal Works, Kose and the brothers will be sentenced by Judge Patricia Lynch QC on 17 March.