Film footage of a demolition worker falling to his death while dismantling a decommissioned gas rig in Great Yarmouth has been played to a court.

Stephen Picken, 62, was cutting the rig with a colleague from a cherry picker in Great Yarmouth outer harbour in 2019 when a large piece of metal fell off and struck the platform, catapulting the men off.

Mr Picken, from Stoke-on-Trent, who specialised in cutting metal with oxy-propane equipment and was described as “the best in the country”, died at the scene while his colleague Mark Kumar survived but suffered life-changing injuries, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Veolia Environmental Services (UK) Ltd, which employed the two men, has admitted failing to ensure their health safety at work.

An emergency vehicle leaving the scene of Stephen Picken's death at Great Yarmouth's outer harbour in October 2019. An emergency vehicle leaving the scene of Stephen Picken's death at Great Yarmouth's outer harbour in October 2019. (Image: Daniel Hickey)

READ MORE: 'Exceptional' worker fell to his death at harbour site

Judge Martyn Levett began hearing evidence at the company’s sentencing hearing on Thursday ( June 13) and viewed film footage of the moment Mr Picken fell to his death. He will sentence the company at a later date.

The court heard that on the morning of October 17, 2019, Mr Picken was dismantling part of an oil rig when a metal column toppled to the ground, hitting the platform on the way, and throwing the men to the ground from 12 to 14m (40 to 45ft) up.

Gordon Menzies, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive, said no cutting plans had been produced for the work being undertaken to show where, how and what angle to make cuts during the demolition.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Picken's cause of death was multiple injuries due to an industrial accident.

READ MORE: Man's death at outer harbour site was an accident, jury concludes

At an inquest in 2022, the Norfolk coroner found the platform had been placed in an unsafe position and said Mr Picken’s death was accidental.

Following the inquest, Richard Hulland, chief risk and assurance officer with Veolia, said the company had made improvements to its safety procedures introducing new minimum requirements.

The new systems would tackle issues raised during the inquest which included the issuing of work permits, management, and supervision.

Mr Hulland said the company was "absolutely devastated" by Mr Picken's death.

At the inquest into Mr Picken's death, the coroner said she was satisfied with the steps taken to stop anything similar happening again, and stopped short of issuing a prevention of future deaths report.

In a statement read at the inquest, Mr Picken’s wife Gail Picken said the couple had hoped to retire to the island of Fuerteventura.

She described him as meticulous and "a stickler for rules" who would not be afraid to raise safety concerns.

"He knew he was exceptional at what he did," she said, describing him as "very fair and hardworking" and someone who "never lost sight of simple values."