The owner of a Norfolk hotel has been fined a total of more than £12,000 after a guest fell down cellar steps after going through a door which should have been kept locked.
Maxine Burlingham, 41, of the Beeches Hotel, Norwich, admitted breaching health and safety regulations by leaving the cellar door unlocked and by not reporting the incident to the council, when she appeared before Norwich Crown Court.
The court heard that guest Anne Taylor had misread signs to the toilet and had gone through a door marked Staff Only. The subsequent fall down the cellar steps left her badly bruised.
In mitigation, it was said that the door had been left unlocked due to human error and that the hotel overall had an excellent reputation.
But imposing a fine of £4,000 with £8,300 costs Judge Peter Jacobs said: "If you open premises for public use then, I am afraid, these days you do take an enormous responsibility.
"Members of the public are your guests and you have to anticipate their behaviour. Some are more careful than others."
By Andrew Smith
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