A scaffolder who lost both arms in a horrific workplace accident has given heart-wrenching testimony about the devastating impact on himself and his family.
Jahden Nelson, who suffered a massive electric shock in April last year leading to his double amputation, told a court he had been robbed of ‘the normal things parents take for granted’ as he raises three young children.
‘I feel like I’m being robbed of my responsibilities of raising our children,’ Mr Nelson said in a victim impact statement read out by his aunt in Auckland’s Waitākere District Court on Monday, as reported by the New Zealand Herald.
Mr Nelson wrote that he grew up without a father and it was agonising for him to be deprived of everyday interactions such as changing a nappy, feeding and cuddling his children.
New Zealand father-of-three Jahden Nelson suffered a horrendous workplace accident in April last year resulting in the loss of his arms
‘Growing up without my dad was tough, and it was something I never wanted my own children to go through,’ he said.
‘I want to give them the support and love that I missed out on.’
Now, he can no longer be the dad who took his children fishing, camping and hunting.
The economic loss also weighed heavily on him with the realisation that he cannot provide a better financial future for his children.
Ms Nelson’s fiancé, Santana Tierney, attended the hearing and battled through tears as she spoke about becoming the family’s full-time carer.
‘My children are limited to a lifestyle they should never have been exposed to,’ she said.
Ms Tierney said even preparing the victim impact statements, and reliving the day of the tragedy, had been overwhelming and distressing.
On the night of the incident she held her children tight as they lay unaware of what happened to their father.
‘It broke me to think of the pain and uncertainty that awaited us,’ she said.
Ms Nelson’s fiancé, Santana Tierney, attended the hearing and battled through tears as she spoke about becoming the family’s full-time carer
Mr Nelson is pictured with his children in hospital following the accident
In the days following the accident, Supercity Scaffolding’s owner CPA 2022 Ltd, which had contracted Mr Nelson to do the work on a West Auckland building site, was charged by WorkSafe under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Mr Nelson received the shock when a metal pole he was holding touched high-voltage lines overhead that he had assumed were turned off.
At Monday’s sentencing hearing, CPA 2022 was ordered to make emotional harm and consequential loss payments to Mr Nelson but suppressed the amount.
However, Judge Maria Pecotic did not impose a fine, which she said the company would be unable to pay, because it would not further the course of justice.
CPA 2022’s sole director Claire Attard was not in court on Monday after being excused from attending.
After the hearing, Ms Tierney told the New Zealand Herald she believed a fine should have been imposed.
Mr Nelson spent months in an Auckland hospital undergoing around a dozen operations and beginning rehabilitation
‘I think we deserved better but no amount of money could fix what we’ve been through and are still going through, but we’re glad it’s over and we just want to keep moving forward,’ she said.
As a result of the accident Mr Nelson suffered a heart attack, internal injuries and burns to 25-35 per cent of his body.
He spent months in Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital burns unit undergoing a dozen operations and rehabilitation.
Mr Nelson has created a page on fund-raising site givealittle to help cover his expenses.
‘My name is Jahden Nelson and I was involved in a workplace accident back in April where I subsequently lost both my arms and could have potentially been my life,’ he writes.
‘My road to recovery is long & what lies ahead remains unknown. I have set up this page to continue the fundraising efforts already made which I hope will contribute to a home for me and my family or opportunity to invest in advanced prosthetic technology.’
In August, Mr Tierney wrote on her Facebook page that finding a home suitable for Mr Nelson is the family’s next step.