A woman’s career in the theatre was brought to a premature end after an accident at work in which she fell through an unsecured door.
The victim, who worked at London’s Soho Theatre Company, seriously injured her spine in the incident and is now paraplegic as a result of her 10ft fall.
She endured a spell of six months in hospital recovering from the injury and has been unable to live a normal life since.
Flagged as a risk
Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told how the theatre company failed to take safety measures despite the door being flagged as a risk more than a month before this accident took place.
Alistair Smith, representing Westminster City Council, which brought the prosecution, said the company should have put systems in place to assess the risk of stepping into thin air after walking through the door.
He said the door should have been secured and a sign should have been put up, at the very least.
The Accident Advice Helpline specialises in slips, trips and falls compensation and has helped thousands of people claim for injuries caused by these types of accident.
The door remained unsecured for “not an inconsiderable period of time”, according to District Judge John Zani, who pointed out that anyone could have used it and potentially suffered an even worse fate during this time.
He said the injured woman, who is now training for a career in law, had outlined in a detailed four-and-a-half page victim impact statement; the devastating effects of her back injury and how it will continue to affect her for the rest of her life.
Soho Theatre Company is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety regulations. The case was referred to crown court for sentencing after the judge said the company potentially deserves a higher fine than he could impose as a magistrate.
The company has been operating as a charity for the last 14 years and recorded a profit of £63,000 in 2013, according to defence lawyer Eleanor Sanderson.
Date Published: October 10, 2014
Author: David Brown