Teen’s army dream ruined after slicing off fingers in sausage mincing machine
A teenager’s army dream has been dashed after he sliced off two fingers in a gruesome butcher’s shop accident.
Dylan Jewell-Deverson, 18, lost the index and middle fingers from his left hand while using a mincing machine to cut sausages.
The apprentice, then 17, was working at Worle Village Butchers in Somerset in July 2019 when disaster struck.
Medics did their best to clean up the wounds after Dylan was taken to hospital but he was still left with amputations on both fingers at the second knuckle.
A health and safety probe set up after the incident ruled that the machine’s safety guard had been forcibly removed.
Frances Bird, the shop’s boss, was handed a suspended sentence and hit with costs after charges were brought.
Dylan has now described how his injuries have affected him and said his plan to join the army lies in ruins.
He said: “It was a lifelong dream. I’ve always wanted to [join the army]. I’d always talk to my dad about it – but now I’m going into property.
“I wanted to be an infantryman. My fingers can’t handle the cold weather now. The swamps – it would be so painful.
“The recent snow really hurt me. The army hasn’t said no [to me], but it’s a personal preference.”
Dylan can recall the morning his fingers were cut from his hand at the butcher’s shop, located in the village near Weston-super-Mare.
He said using the meat machine was one of his daily tasks and, on the day in question, his supervisor asked him to sort the sausages.
But his hand got drawn in and removed two of his digits – leaving him in agony.
Dylan said he then had to wait for an ambulance but, worried about his injuries, got his mum to rush him to hospital instead.
He added: “I was outside the shop for about an hour and a half. My mum took me in the end – she saw everything. I was angry.
“I was in hospital for two to four days. They used the skin that was left on the mincer to build a graft and cover [the fingers] over.”
Dylan said he then struggled when he returned home, unable to carry out the simplest tasks due to his injuries.
He said: “Obviously, when it happened, for the first three to four months, I was really lost. I was mentally unstable.
“I didn’t want to come out of my room and I couldn’t even do basic things. I couldn’t walk my dog, and I was on so much medication.
“And I was really self-conscious. [The fingers] looked really horrible. I didn’t work for about a year.”
Dylan, from Yatton, eventually got himself another job and said things have been “good ever since”.
He is currently working as a packer but plans to go into property development in the near future.
Charges were brought against both managing director Bird, 41, and Worle Village Butchers after an investigation by North Somerset Council.
The case was heard at North Somerset magistrates’ court on February 18.
The court was told Bird, an accountant by profession, had no practical experience in butchery and employed others to run the shop.
But she took a more active role in the business in June 2018, including completing risk assessments and doing deliveries.
Bird pleaded guilty under the Health and Safety at Work Act and was given an 18-week custodial sentence suspended for 18 months.
She was also ordered to pay costs of £5,535 with a surcharge of £115.
The company, which is in the process of liquidation, was handed a£30,000 fine, together with shared costs of £5,535 and a surcharge of £170.
Cllr Mike Bell, deputy leader of the council, said: “This incident has had lifelong effects on Dylan.
“He can no longer pursue a career in the armed forces and suffers ongoing pain.
“Health and safety is there for a reason – to make sure proper safeguards are in place so that incidents like this can be avoided.
“This case demonstrates that responsibilities must be taken seriously, and if they are not, you will be held to account.”