Beds, Herts & Bucks

May Ward Meppershall Care Home death: Owner fined £150,000

May Ward Image copyright PA
Image caption May Ward on her 100th birthday. She suffered multiple injuries after falling from a body sling

A £150,000 fine given to a care home owner over the death of a 100-year-old resident should "set a precedent" for the industry, her son has said.

Mohammed Zarook admitted the breaches after the death of May Ward in 2010 at Meppershall Care Home in Bedfordshire.

Mrs Ward, who had dementia, died after falling from a sling being used to move her from a chair to her bed.

Outside court, Zarook said he was sorry for what happened. Mrs Ward's son John said it was "some sort of justice".

Mr Ward, 65, from Stevenage, said: "This will set a precedent to people who run care homes that they have to abide by the rules and spend money on issues that arise through health and safety.

"It is some sort of justice for us. Mum would be very proud of us now."

Image caption May Ward was a RAF cook in the war and went into the pub trade afterwards

Mrs Ward died after two carers, one Bulgarian and one Chinese, both with limited English, were trying to move her using a hoist they had not been trained to operate.

It was claimed she was agitated at the time and she fell from the sling on to the floor, fracturing her skull. She died the next day.

Zarook, 74, pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to health and safety breaches with regard to Mrs Ward's care.

Asked outside court what he felt about her death, Zarook said: "I have said I am sorry. I have no further comment."

Image caption May Ward with her son John

Zarook must pay costs of £100,000. His company, GA Projects Ltd, was fined £50,000 and order to pay costs of £36,999.

Judge Richard Foster said: "In this case the defendants fell far short of the standards expected of them. There was no specific training in the use of this specific hoist which was a complicated piece of specialist equipment."

Karl Howes, from the Health and Safety Executive, said: "She (Mrs May) was in a care home where she should have been looked after well and unfortunately in those circumstances she was dropped while being moved. It was totally avoidable."

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