A diving supervisor was yesterday cleared of the manslaughter of North Sea diver Bradley Westell.

However, Kenneth Roberts, 47, of Ballieswell Place, Aberdeen, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by erasing part of a videotape recording showing a cable-laying operation at the time of Mr Westell's death.

Mr Roberts had denied both offences, but admitted failing to take reasonable care of Mr Westell's safety. He was remanded in custody to await sentencing today.

Also due to be sentenced is Coflexip Stena Offshore, which has admitted two offences of breaching safety regulations.

Mr Westell, 29, from Plymouth, died when his overlong lifeline floated to the surface and was caught in the propellers of the surface ship, the Stena Orelia, off Bacton, Norfolk, in July 1995.

During the four-week trial at Norwich Crown Court, the principal diving inspector for the Health and Safety Executive, Mr Michael Welham, said the company had a prohibition notice served on it in June 1991 and again after the incident four years later, to prevent the use of overlong lifelines by divers.

Mr Westell's father, Mr Patrick Westell, a builder from Plymouth, yesterday said: ''It is a verdict we applaud. I don't think Mr Roberts is the one who should be pilloried.''