A grandmother has been ordered to pay £59,000 in fines and costs after an odd job man plunged to his death through the roof of her animal crematorium near Newton Abbot.

Sally Williams had asked Paul Hoskin to mend some holes in the roof of her Cremtor business after two old furnaces and a chimney stack had earlier been removed.

The 64-year-old also asked a member of her staff - slaughterwoman Sheilita Humphries - to help him fix the gaps in the roof even though both had no experience of roof work.

Exeter Crown Court heard a forklift truck with a wooden pallet on it was raised up to the gap in the roof fell short by four feet. It was put there to break anyone's fall.

Father-of-two Mr Hoskin, aged 45, an agricultural engineer from Layne Close, Christow, plunged through the 'fragile' roof and hit the pallet and metal frame of an incinerator before being fatally hurt as he struck the ground.

Sole proprietor Williams, of Forches Cross, Newton Abbot, admitted two offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act in connection with the tragedy in September 2013.

Prosecutor Robin Havard, for the Health and Safety Executive, said there was a sign on the front of the building warning of the 'fragile roof' and said crawling boards and harnesses were needed to go on to thr roof – but neither Mr Hoskin, 45, from Christow, nor Miss Humphries had any safety gear.

He said the forklift truck and pallet four feet beneath the gaps in the roof failed to provide any protection on the roof and was 'clearly inadequate'.

He said that as Mr Hoskin leaned over to reach a drill he fell through the roof and Miss Humphries attempted in vain to try to stop his fatal plunge.

Mr Havard said a mobile elevated platform should have been used and said Mrs Williams had shown a 'reckless disregard' for safety issues in what was a foreseeable incident.

Simon Morgan, mitigating, said Williams had known Mr Hoskin for more than 40 years since he was a boy.

He said he was an 'honest and sensible' man who did odd jobs for Williams.

He said: "She took her eye off the ball. This was not her core activity, which is cremating animals. She is full of remorse and accepts full responsibility."

He said she had an unblemished record with no convictions and her turnover was just under £600,000 a year, with assets of a similar amount.

Recorder Mr James Waddington said the forklift truck and pallet had been put there in case anyone fell off the roof and it would break their fall.

He called it a 'tragedy' and said the victim's wife Amanda made a statement about the emotional impact on their young family.

The judge fined Williams £40,000 over Mr Hoskin's death, and £5,000 relating to Miss Humphries being on the roof. He ordered her to pay £8,180 costs on top of £6,075 she had already paid in costs – a total penalty of just under £60,000 to be paid within the next three years.