The UK’s largest pub chain has been found guilty of a health and safety breach after the ‘preventable’ death of a student who was run over outside a busy venue.
Olivia Burt, a 20-year-old freshman life sciences student at Durham University, suffered serious head injuries when a heavy decorative screen fell on her as she queued to enter in the city’s Missoula bar in February 2018.
The venue was full of student sports teams on a Wednesday evening and a crowd had gathered outside, waiting to enter.
Bar owner Stonegate stood trial at Teesside Crown Court charged with breaching health and safety legislation.
Ms Burt’s father, Nigel, seated in the public gallery, sighed with relief when the foreman delivered a guilty verdict.
The company now faces a fine and will be sentenced later on Thursday.
Olivia Burt, 20, a student at Durham University, who suffered a fatal head injury
Police investigators on the spot
Jamie Hill KC, previously summed up the lawsuit filed by Durham County Council, saying: ‘It is perhaps difficult to understand how it is that a 20-year-old woman can die in such a way senseless and avoidable.”
“All she was doing was hanging out with her friends, waiting to get into a club that had targeted the student population as a way to fill their room on Wednesday nights.”
Of Ms Burt, from Milford on Sea, Hampshire, he said: ‘She was an innocent woman who did nothing wrong and deserved to be safe.
“She deserved to be protected by a great organization that had lots of written policies.
“There were risk assessments covering just about everything, policies that were supposed to cover all reasonably foreseeable eventualities.
CCTV footage outside Missoula nightclub in Durham, showing the scenes as students lined up
“But the reality is that as soon as the venue, which had become the first choice venue for students on a Wednesday evening, was faced with more customers than they could accommodate within their own confines, all the planning and all the risk assessments came to nothing.
The heavy screen had fallen earlier in the evening as crowds gathered to enter, but it was put back in place and the chance to avert tragedy was missed when it happened again about half an hour later. late, with fatal consequences.
Judge Howard Crowson will hear victim statements and receive a cost estimate before setting the fine.
He thanked the jury for the “heavy burden” they shouldered in deciding the three-week case.
Helen Lynch, Durham County Council’s Legal and Democratic Services Manager, said: ‘Above all, our thoughts remain with Olivia’s family.
“It has been a particularly long and difficult process for them and we would like to thank them for their patience throughout.
“We are pleased with today’s result and hope it helps bring justice to Olivia and her family.”
Origin: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk