Roofing boss Simon Bigg drink-driving death crash past revealed


A ROOFING firm boss found guilty over the death of a worker on his site was previously responsible for the death of a young mum.

Simon Bigg was jailed for gross negligence manslaughter over the death of Mark Willis at a job in Boundary Road, Hove.

The grandfather fell from the roof above a shop there and later died from his injuries, and Hove Crown Court heard how safety steps such as scaffolding and edging boards were not in place.

Now The Argus can reveal that Bigg has previously been jailed for causing the death of a young mum by dangerous driving in May 2009.

Bigg was out with a friend drinking beer in Welling, South London before getting behind the wheel of his silver Mercedes convertible.

After turning left out of the pub, the drink-driver mounted the pavement and mowed down 30-year-old nursery school teacher Claire Lane.

Ms Lane was just 50 yards from her home in Wickham Street, but died instantly at the scene, but Bigg fled the area before police arrived.

Claire Lane was killed by drink-driver Simon Bigg in Welling, South London in 2009

At the time Ms Lane’s son Adam was just two years old, and her then partner Danny Legg described the devastating impact of the hit-and-run crash at 5.30pm on May 3, 2009.

He said his partner “didn’t stand a chance” and in a tribute to sister paper the News Shopper he said: “I’ve spent the past two days being sick and crying. I’m now just so angry.

“I want the people who did this to realise what they have done. She (Claire) not only leaves me, her partner, but also our two-year-old son, Adam.

“It is right outside our flat, but I cannot even look at where this happened. It’s devastation. Claire was just walking along. The car has mounted the pavement and destroyed everything in its path.

“Claire didn’t stand a chance.

“It could have been anyone but they took my beautiful Claire.

“Nothing will ever bring Claire back but I just want them to comprehend what they have done. I’ll never ever be the same again. They have destroyed my family forever.”

Details of the previous conviction were revealed at Hove Crown Court by barrister Jacqueline Carey, who said Bigg was eventually jailed in December 2009.

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Nine years later Bigg’s “lapse of judgment” meant he did not think scaffolding or edging boards were needed to protect his friend Mark Willis, a former Royal Marine who only had three weeks of experience on the job.

Bigg, of Denton Island, Newhaven, was jailed for four-and-a-half years for destroying the lives of another family.

The scene of the accident in Boundary Road, Hove

Mr Willis’s son Robert said his father was “second to none” and said: “This is the most horrendous thing I have ever had to endure.

“He was an incredibly likeable man with the ability to make people happy. He was a natural born leader and someone with whom you could enjoy great company.

“To me he was more than just a father, he was my mentor, a listening ear and my best friend.”

He said Mr Willis’s death had been a “horrendous” blow to everyone in his family and said at the outcome of the case he was “glad to see the end of this whole disastrous affair”.

But he also said it should have been obvious to Bigg that the site was not safe. Mr Willis’s own motto was that “if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing right”. He would not have hesitated to have made sure things were safe himself.

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