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Worcestershire hotel fined £34,000 after death of RAF pilot

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Worcestershire hotel fined £34,000 after death of RAF pilot

The White Lion hotel in Worcestershire has been fined £34,000 after an RAF pilot fell 20ft to his death. 

Jon and Chris Lear pleaded guilty to a breach of general duty on behalf of the partnership that owns the Upton-upon-Severn hotel and were handed the fine along with a bill of £49,000 in costs.

Sergeant Christopher James, 41, was discovered on a pavement outside the hotel on the morning of 5 July 2015, hours after celebrating a wedding.

Worcestershire Crown Court had heard that there were no restrictions preventing older windows in the hotel from being opened fully.

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

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.”

In mitigation, the court heard the owners had no previous convictions and no incidents of failure. It was acknowledged the hotel was well run and the owners were conscientious in their approach to health and safety issues.

Through a victim impact statement James’ wife told the court her husband’s death had devastated her and the couple’s two children.

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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