Care home owner fined for death fall

AN Ipswich doctor and owner of a residential care home has been fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to failing to comply with health and safety responsibilities.

AN Ipswich doctor has been fined £10,000 after a 94-year-old resident plunged to her death through an open window at the care home he owns.

Dr Krishan Malhotra, owner of Fairfields Residential Care Home, Ipswich, was prosecuted for failing in his duty to comply with health and safety responsibilities which led to the death of an elderly resident in his care.

He admitted failing to comply with health and safety responsibilities after Violet Southgate, 94, fell to her death from an open sash window in her first floor bedroom at the home on Tuddenham Road.

The window was not fitted with any device to prevent a vulnerable person falling through it.

A suitable and sufficient risk assessment had not been carried out and a suitably competent person had not been appointed to assist Dr Malhotra in complying with his health and safety responsibilities.

The defendant pleaded guilty on all three counts.

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The £10,000 fine was in relation to failure to comply with the duty contained within Section 3(1) Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. £8,000 costs were also awarded to the council.

Matthew Nothard, senior environmental health officer, leading the case, said: "It is a real tragedy that the end of such a long life should be brought about in this way. We will be using the publicity generated by this case to highlight these sorts of dangers in other residential homes in the borough."

The coroner recorded an open verdict in December 2001 and the Crown Prosecution Service considered a prosecution for manslaughter for some time before this case was brought by Ipswich Borough Council.

The Evening Star was asked to leave Fairfield Home when it requested an interview with Dr Malhotra yesterday.