PROPERTY magnate and ex-UKIP parliamentary candidate Keith Crawford was today jailed for two-and-a-half years for causing the death of a builder working at the multi-millionaire’s luxury home in Teignbridge.

Crawford, 74, of Pocombe Bridge, near Ide, had earlier been found guilty after an Exeter Crown Court trial of gross negligence manslaughter involving 48-year-old contractor Peter Clements.

He had been digging a three-metre drain at the farmhouse property when trench walls collapsed in on him just 20 minutes after he had urged his boss to make the work more secure.

He died in hospital three days after the accident three years ago.

At Bristol Crown Court today (thurs) Crawford was also given a one-year concurrent jail sentence for failing to comply with health and safety regulations.

Justice James Dingemans ordered Crawford to pay £15,000 within six months to cover costs of the two prosecution authorities

He told Crawford: ‘This case is a tragedy for all. There is no sentence I can pass that can possibly reflect the loss suffered by Amanda Clements and her family.’

He added: ‘A particularly sad feature of this case is that Ryan Clements saw his father buried.

‘I am sure there was plain and obvious risk of death from the collapse of the side of the trench.’

Representing Crawford, Mr Richard Smith said the incident was ‘wholly inconsistent’ with Crawford’s character.

He told the court: ‘This wasn’t a persistent course of offending. There was no evidence that he had failed himself in the past in that way.’

He added that his client had no background of taking risks.

‘This is out of character with the way he would normally do his work which is usually of a high standard,’ he said.

‘There is no suggestion that he has conducted himself in business life in any way that would be consistent with this one error of judgement.’

Crawford stood as UKIP’s candidate in Exeter at the 2010 and 2015 general elections and for the South West in the Euro parliamentary elections of 2014.