A Newhaven crane operator told today how he thought he was going to die when his cab crashed into a hotel, leaving him dangling for hours.

John Young’s employers Select Plant Hire Ltd were fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £33,000 in costs after pleading guilty at the Old Bailey to breaching health and safety regulations, including failing to adequately secure the cab.

After the accident at the Croydon Park Hotel in June 2007, Mr Young was stuck at the top of the hotel while emergency services tried to rescue him and two colleagues.

Mr Young, a father of two from Newhaven, suffered from three compression fractures to the spine, two broken ribs, a fractured lumbar, a fractured skull, bruises and cuts to his entire body and now sufferers from post traumatic stress disorder.

Speaking at court Mr Young said: “I haven't got a life because of this, my life is on hold, it is just a series of hospital appointments and physiotherapy.

“I thought I was going to die. When the crane started going backwards I said goodbye to my wife and kids and thought that was going to be it.”

Two days after the accident it was Mr Young's son's birthday which had to be put on hold until his father was better.

He said: “My kids didn't know what to do with me when I got home. I was covered in bruises, my face had swelled up where I had fractured my skull, it was horrible. My son's birthday was two days after the accident but that had to be cancelled because I was in hospital for six days having surgery.

"Even worse was when the ambulance started to drive away from the site and it reversed up a 12 inch curb."

The court also heard Select Plant Hire Ltd failed to provide the necessary training for the erection team in charge of the crane as well as carrying out a thorough examination after the cranes assembly before it was put to use.

The accident caused the Croydon Park Hotel to lose £2m in lost revenue, and repair costs for the damage caused totalled more that £2.8m.

Prosecutor, Oliver Glasgow QC, said: “Only gravity was keeping them safe and any pressure in any direction would cause it (the crane cab) to fall off.

“No one thought to address how the crane was being held in place.”

Judge Anthony Morris QC said: “I don't understand how this could ever be used as a safe way of working.

“I am trying to work out how it could ever be conceived that this would work.”

After the verdict Mr Young said: “The verdict shows they can’t muck about with health and safety. It is not worth the lives that can be lost.”