Lancashire

'Serious failures' at Pontins holiday camp led to death

A holiday company's "very serious failures" at a Lancashire camp led to a woman's death, a court has heard.

Karen Taylor, 53, died after contracting Legionnaires' Disease while staying at the Pontins Holiday Centre in Lytham St Annes in July 2009.

At Preston Crown Court, prosecutor Simon Parrington said Mrs Taylor had been "exposed to risk" at the camp.

Pontins Ltd, which has since come under new management, denies two charges of breaching health and safety laws.

Mrs Taylor caught Legionnaires' Disease while staying at the centre, but did not become ill until she returned home to Northfields in Birmingham.

She was admitted to the city's Selly Oak Hospital, where she was placed on a ventilator and diagnosed with the disease. After developing pneumonia, she died on 29 August.

'Promoted bacteria'

The court heard that she had stayed in Chalet 229 at the camp, the same room where another woman had fallen ill in March 2009.

Margaret Coote, from Chesterfield, spent five weeks in hospital after contracting Legionnaires' Disease from the chalet's bath.

She suffered a heart attack as a result of her infection but recovered.

After Mrs Coote's illness, environmental health officers visited the park and expressed concerns about the water temperatures from the boiler which led to the chalet.

Mr Parrington said temperatures of water were such that it "promoted the proliferation of the bacteria".

He said management at Pontins had given assurances that action would be taken.

But, he said, nothing had changed in July, when Mrs Taylor visited, and that despite her complaining that the shower in the chalet was not hot enough, no action was taken.

"It is the Crown's case that there were very serious failures on behalf of Pontins," he said.

"As a result, Mrs Taylor and Mrs Coote, and no doubt many others, were exposed to risk of their health and safety."

Demolished

The Pontins Holiday Centre in Lytham St Annes closed in October 2009 and has since been demolished.

The original Pontins company which was responsible for running the camp went into administration in 2010.

It was purchased in 2011 by Britannia Hotels, which runs five Pontins camps under the original brand name but with new management and regimes.

Pontins Ltd has entered a not guilty plea to accusations of two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, but is not attending the trial at Preston Crown Court and has sent no legal representation.

The Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell QC, told the jury such things were "unusual".

The case continues.

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