A man whose negligence while felling a tree led to his father suffering permanent spinal injuries has been given a suspended jail sentence.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive revealed Paolo Mule failed to carry out a risk assessment prior to cutting down a tree with his father Calogero at Bassetsbury Manor in High Wycombe.

While the work was being carried out on April 22, 2013, a partially cut branch swung down and knocked away the ladder Calogero was standing on - throwing him to the ground, where he landed on his back.

The 59-year-old from Gerrards Cross sustained permanent injuries and will now be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, Amersham Crown Court heard on Friday.

Paolo Mule, trading as P&X Complete Cleaning Services, was given an 18 month prison sentence, which was suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £2,000 costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The 33-year-old, of Pinions Road, High Wycombe, had been contracted to carry out the work at Bassetsbury Manor by Alpha Schools Ltd.

The firm, of London Road, High Wycombe, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act after an investigation showed it had failed to engage competent contractors to undertake the arboriculture work.

Alpha Schools Ltd was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay £25,000 costs, while the company also agreed to make an ex gratia payment of £50,000 to Calogero Mule.

HSE Principal Inspector Karl Howes said after sentencing: "Arboriculture work remains high risk, particularly work at height in trees. Such work must only be undertaken by competent and trained contractors.

"All businesses have a duty to ensure they engage in competent contractors when carrying out tree work."