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Pensioner's care home fall death was an accident court told

By Jonny Drury | Oswestry | News | Published:

The death of a pensioner who fell down a flight of stairs in his wheelchair at a care home was an accident, it has been claimed.

The Court nursing home in West Felton, near Oswestry

Michael Ibbetson, 83, suffered a fractured skull when he fell down a flight of cellar stairs at The Court nursing home in West Felton on February 15, 2015.

He was found in the cellar, where a chest freezer and tools were kept, with fatal injuries.

The firm that runs the home, Akari Care, denies two allegations of breaching health and safety regulations.

A trial at Shrewsbury Crown Court, a week after the third anniversary of his death, heard how the health and safety executive found that the cellar door, which was accessed with a key code, did not always shut properly.

Yesterday James Leonard defending, did not call any evidence on behalf of the defendants, Akari Care, but in his closing statement said the tragic death was due to an accident.

He told the jury: “This is a defendant that runs 35 care homes, it has around 2,000 staff and thousands of residents, and has no convictions or cautions.

“No one can fail to feel for Mr Ibbetson and his family, and the members of staff who cared for him.

“We know the door must have been open for Mr Ibbetson to go down the steps, and that is a concept that allows for an accident to occur.

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“There is no evidence to suggest how it was that the door was open when he went through it, we just don’t know.”

Health and safety executive inspector Stephen Shaw, who gave evidence , said when walking up the stairs and out of the door, 50 per cent of the time the door would not lock property.

He told the home he was concerned about a hand rail on the wall, and that the room was being used.

When he revisited, a new rail and door had been installed, the freezer removed, and the cellar was only accessible through a key that needed to be signed for.

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In his closing statement, prosecutor James Puzey said it was found shortly after the accident that the door did not lock properly, and that the door and the stairs posed a risk.

He said: “We know within minutes of being looked at, it was that the door did not shut in all circumstances.”

The jury is set to retire today to consider its verdict.

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.

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