Luton Airport fined after woman killed on crossing
- 18 October 2013
- From the section Beds, Herts & Bucks
Luton Airport and a contractor will have to pay £372,595 in fines and costs after a woman died in a traffic accident outside the terminal.
Mary Whiting, 78, of Norwich, was returning from holiday in May 2009 when she was hit by a milk lorry on a pedestrian crossing.
The airport and C-T Aviation Solutions were found guilty of health and safety offences at Luton Crown Court.
The prosecution argued that the crossing was badly designed.
The crossing connected passengers to car parks and drop-off areas.
The court heard Mrs Whiting had crossed the road believing the lorry was stationary, but it then pulled away and crushed her.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) brought the prosecution against London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (LLAOL) and C-T Aviation Solutions (C-TAS), which was consulted on the design of the crossing which opened in March 2009.
The HSE said the crossing should have had Belisha beacons, zigzag lines and a stop-line at least 1m from the start of the crossing.
Judge Philip Bartle QC said: "There was a foreseeable risk of injury or death to pedestrians and the seriousness is that LLAOL exposed eight million to nine million visitors a year to that risk."
LLAOL was fined £75,000 with £197,595 costs, while C-TAS was fined £70,000 with £30,000 costs.
Speaking after the trial, Graham Tompkins, HSE inspector, said: "This tragic incident could easily have been avoided had LLAOL taken the proper steps to ensure the safety of vehicles and their passengers at the airport."
The court heard that the crossing had been altered following the death of Ms Whiting and the size and number of heavy vehicles using the road had been reduced.
The two companies were not charged with offences specifically relating to Ms Whiting's death.
In September 2010, the lorry driver Rossano Casagrande, 50, of Fulbridge Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, was found not guilty at Luton Crown Court of causing Mrs Whiting's death by careless driving.