Sunday 23 September 2018
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Care home owner in court over 'wardrobe fall' death

The owner of a care home has appeared in court charged with breaching health and safety rules after a resident was found dead underneath a wardrobe.

Thomasina Bennett, 80, is thought to have suffocated underneath the wardrobe when it toppled on to her at Milford House Care Home, Derbyshire, in 2012.

Gerald Hudson, 71, from Ambergate, is accused of failing to secure the wardrobe, check monitoring systems and ensure staff were trained correctly.

He denies all the charges against him.

Mrs Bennett was found dead underneath the double wardrobe on 9 April 2012.

Amber Valley Borough Council launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death after post-mortem tests carried out at the time proved inconclusive.

A monitoring system designed to alert staff when a resident gets outs of bed failed to work.

Jonathan Owen, for the prosecution, told Derby Crown Court it was "systematically unsafe" and criticised emergency procedures, saying staff "reacted in a state of disarray".

However, John Cooper QC for the defence, said patients might get out of bed in such a way their movement did not trigger the monitor.

Addressing the jury, Judge Stuart Rafferty QC said: "This isn't a murder trial, it is a case which deals with health and safety.

"The real issue is if there were in place sufficient systems to ensure the care and protection of that lady."

The trial continues.