Crane hire company Hewden has lost an appeal against a High Court decision that found that it was responsible for the Canary Wharf crane collapse in May 2000, in which three workers died.
The court ruled in November that Hewden rather than crane operator Cleveland Bridge was responsible for controlling the equipment. The workers, all employees of a Hewden Stuart subsidiary, fell 450 ft.

A statement from the solicitor of Cleveland Bridge contractors Walker Morris said that the Court of Appeal had confirmed that the decision of the construction court in favour of Cleveland Bridge should stand.

A spokesman for Hewden refused to comment. An insider said the company was considering whether to appeal to the Lords. The insider added that the initial cost estimate of £8m of damages was modest.

He said: "We are expecting damages to be paid in excess of £8m, maybe up to £16m."