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Council Successfully Prosecutes for Health and Safety Failing at a Bedworth Public House

Published on Wednesday, 23rd October 2019

John Paul, who ran the Cricketers Arms pub in Bedworth, has been sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £8000

In the early hours of the 8th April 2018, Lea Kinder, the customer fell asleep in the pub while on a night out and was left alone in the lounge. During the night she got up and fell down a flight of steep stairs through an unlocked cellar door directly off the pub lounge. She was found unconscious and hypothermic the following morning after suffering a fractured neck and other injuries.

At the time of the accident the pub was managed by the Cricketers Arms Pub Limited and John Paul was the sole Director of the company. John Paul pleaded guilty in the Crown Court at Leamington Spa to one charge of failing to ensure the health and safety of a non-employee under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The prosecution was brought by Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, in their role as a health and safety enforcing authority.

Following the court case, Neil Phillips, cabinet member for Planning and Development and Health said:

“The cellar door should have been secured. It was this mistake that led to Lea Kinder suffering significant, life-changing injuries which has affected her and her family severely. The investigation found that the cellar door had been habitually unlocked despite being immediately off the lounge of the pub next to the bar serving area.

"As a council, we take our health and safety enforcement role extremely seriously. We work closely with businesses to help them to comply with health and safety legislation and protect the public.”

John Paul was grossly negligent and committed a clear breach of his duty of care towards his customer. Owners and managers of all public places, including pubs, have a legal duty of care towards their customers and employees.  They are required to protect their customers and employees from all potential risks within the premises, undertake risk assessments and manage health and safety.  An open cellar door is a recognised risk and proper precautionary measures should have been in place to prevent the accident.