Worcestershire hotel fined £34,000 following fatal fall

Martha Elwell By Martha Elwell
1 week ago | Updated 1 week ago

UK: The White Lion Hotel in Worcestershire has been fined £34,000 after a guest fell 20ft to his death

White Lion Hotel in Upton has been fined £34,000 after Christopher James died falling from a second floor window in July 2015.

Jon and Chris Lear pleaded guilty to a breach of general duty on behalf of the partnership that owns the hotel. They were handed the fine as well as a bill of £49,000 in costs.

RAF pilot Sergeant Christopher James, 41, was found on a pavement outside the hotel on the morning of 5 July 2015. Worcestershire Crown Court heard that there were no restrictions preventing older windows in the hotel from being opened fully.

Prosecutors for Worcestershire Regulatory Services claimed the hotel failed to acknowledge the danger presented by the windows in a 2013 risk assessment.

The court heard the owners had no previous convictions and no incidents of failure. It was acknowledged that the owners were generally conscientious in their approach to health and safety issues.

Judge Nicholas Cole said: "I take the view the prosecution were correct in describing the failure to include in a risk assessment any mention of falls from windows as a glaring omission. Had the question of the windows in the upper bedrooms been considered this would have been considered as an obvious risk and steps put in place."

Cllr Bronwen Behan, who is responsible for Worcestershire Regulatory Services on behalf of Malvern Hills District Council, said: "This is a very tragic case and our thoughts are with the family of Mr James. It highlights the importance to all businesses of ensuring their risk assessments are thorough."

All windows at the hotel have since been fitted with restrictors.

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