A MAN has appeared in court charge with killing Lee Balkwell who was found trapped under the drum of a cement mixer nearly 12 years ago.

Simon Bromley, 45, was charged with the gross negligence manslaughter of Mr Balkwell, 33, at Baldwin's Farm, Dennises Lane, South Ockendon, in July 2002.

Bromley, who ran a concrete business based at the farm was Mr Balkwell's employer at the time, is also charged with an offence against the Health and Safety at Work Act.

It is alleged that between July 16 and 19 2002 he failed to ensure the safety of Mr Balkwell, while they were drilling out drying cement from the back of a Hymix cement mixer.

The defendant, dressed in a black jacket, white shirt and blue trousers, spoke only to confirm his identity.

The case was transferred to Chelmsford Crown Court in April, when Bromley, from Baldwin's Farm, is expected to enter pleas.

He was released on unconditional bail.

There were some angry scenes as Bromley left the dock when Mr Balkwell's father Les Balkwell, began shouting.