Cornwall

Hillcrest House care home fined for Looe window fall death

Hillcrest House
Image caption Reginald Gibbings had moved into the care home five days before his death

The owners of a care home in Cornwall must pay £135,000 after a resident fell to his death from a faulty window.

Michael and Sharon Cotton who run Hillcrest House on Barbican Road, Looe admitted failing to ensure the safety of residents.

Truro Crown Court heard that Reginald Gibbings, 89, fell 12ft (3.6m) out of a window due to a faulty catch.

The couple were fined £40,000 and must pay £95,963 for Mr Gibbings' funeral and Health and Safety Executive costs.

Multiple injuries

The court heard that Mr Gibbings, who died in 2008, had Alzheimer's disease and had moved into the care home five days before his death.

He fell through a ground-floor bedroom window, suffering multiple injuries and died two days later.

Prosecutor Kate Brunner said the windows at the home had restrictors to prevent them being opened more than 10cm (4ins) but that a screw had not been tightened sufficiently and the window opened too far.

Judge Philip Wassall said the restrictor was used contrary to its design and there was no procedure to ensure that staff were instructed how to use it.

He said the system was defective but not significantly so.

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