THE family of a Cowdenbeath man who died after a fall from height at Longannet Power Station has received £1 million in damages.

Gary Robertson died from serious injuries after plummeting from a platform nearly 30 feet in the air.

The father-of-two was working at the decommissioned power station at Kincardine as it was being prepared for demolition.

Demolition firm Brown & Mason were fined just £5,000 after bosses admitted health and safety failings that led to Gary’s death.

But after settling a civil action his wife said the stark difference in outcomes shows there is a need for justice reforms so businesses guilty of fatal accidents face tougher punishments.

Karen Robertson, 57, said: “Something is clearly wrong with sentencing guidelines because a £5,000 fine is disgusting – Gary’s funeral even cost more than that.

“We need to make sure the laws designed to hold people accountable can’t be manipulated to let those responsible escape justice.”

Gary died on February 6, 2019, after falling at the decommissioned Firth of Forth site.

He was part of a workforce which was preparing the derelict power station for demolition.

The grandfather-of-three was with a colleague in an area known as Coronation Street when he fell after a metal grating panel on a pipe bridge platform gave way.

Gary remained conscious after the fall but suffered a cardiac arrest a short time after – he was pronounced dead around 4pm after paramedics arrived and could not resuscitate him.

His passing had a profound impact on his family.

Retired social care worker Karen had been with her husband for 38 years. They were married for 33 years, had two children together and three grandchildren.

Recalling her last conversation that day with her husband and the aftermath of his death, she said: “I was baking for a charity bake sale and he joked to remember to bring some goodies home.

“That was the last time we spoke. Just a normal conversation, but you obviously don’t ever expect anything bad to happen because your man shouldn’t go to work and not come home.

“What happens after these kinds of things is just horrendous. You find yourself in an unexpected and cold world – it’s all investigations, fiscals and paperwork and the way these people talk to you I think they forget that while it might be normal in their lives, it’s not normal in the lives of those affected.

“For example, the first thing Gary’s employers sent to me wasn’t a sympathy card or a phone call – it was his P45. And even after the civil case they’ve still never given an apology.

“Closure is not a word that will ever resonate with me because I will never feel like the criminal action ended in a way that we or Gary deserved.

“I screamed in court when I learned about the sentence.

“All it taught me was that the employers, the criminal system, the sheriff… it was like they cared more about following paperwork than us.

“Even when these people tell you they’ll call, they don’t – so you go through all that mental anguish waiting for an arranged call that doesn’t come.

“We were told that because it was a health and safety prosecution we weren’t even allowed to provide a family statement talking about the impact of Gary’s loss – but if it was a fatal car accident then families can do this, so that’s another thing that I think needs looked at to help families be heard.

“Gary’s death happened to us – why then does it feel like the process puts us last?”

Brown & Mason were fined £5,000 after a criminal prosecution at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

The sentence would have been £100,000 but it was reduced by the sheriff after company bosses claimed they had no assets to pay more.

Digby Brown Solicitors investigated the circumstances of the accident in parallel with the criminal investigation.

Lawyers gathered evidence that showed Brown & Mason failed to follow expected health and safety guidelines and failed to provide a safe working environment that would have prevented the incident from happening.

Innes Laing, partner at Digby Brown in Kirkcaldy, said: “What happened to Gary was utterly devastating and what makes it more difficult for the family was learning just how avoidable it was.

“I know they were extremely disappointed at the outcome of the criminal sentencing – a sentiment that was echoed by the public.

“No amount of compensation will ever come close to filling the void left behind by a loved one but I know that for Karen and her family, their civil action at least provided answers, recognition and a way to hold those responsible to account in a way that was right to them.”