Firms fined over 92-year-old’s care home death

A 92-year-old care home resident tragically died after a heavy fire door fell on top of her during renovation works, a court heard.

Manchester Crown Court heard that Irene Sharples, who suffered with dementia, was injured after being allowed to wander onto the building site at the Alexian Brothers Care Centre in the Moston area of the city.

The London-based firm which runs the care home, the Healthcare Management Trust Ltd, and building company Rothwell Robinson Ltd both admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Fines issued

When they appeared at the crown court the Healthcare Management Trust was fined £20,000 with £7,500 costs.

The building company of Holyoake Road in Worsley, Manchester, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,500.

The court heard that Mrs Sharples died from injuries 25 days after the incident at the St Mary’s Road care home in 2010.

She had wandered into the unlocked former ground floor bedroom that the Healthcare Management Trust had asked Rothwell Robinson to convert into a store room and toilets.

Room left unlocked

The court heard that care home staff had heard a loud noise and cry for assistance on the morning of 7 November. They had gone to investigate and found Mrs Sharples on the floor underneath a fire door which had taken three people to lift off her.

The incident left Mrs Sharples with a broken hip. She returned to the care home after eight days in hospital but, the court heard, her condition had deteriorated and she died on 2 December.

Manchester Crown Court heard that Mrs Sharples had known the resident who used to live in the room where the work was being carried out and had occasionally gone inside as she walked around the Alexian Brothers Care Centre.

It was told that an investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that both companies had failed to ensure the room was left locked when it was unoccupied and at the end of each day.

The fire door was removed during the renovation work and leant up against wardrobes in the room, the HSE investigation found.

Accident Advice Helpline, which specialises in personal injury compensation, can also help people claim for compensation on behalf of a deceased relative.

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