Top school fined £10,000 after grandmother is badly hurt in fall

A highly-rated private school has been fined £10,000 after a pensioner fell off the side of an unguarded staircase and fractured three bones in her neck.

Repton School, in Derbyshire, pleaded guilty to health and safety failings after Christine Bywater suffered the fall on November 30th last year.

Magistrates heard last week how the 68-year-old had been visiting the school to watch her grandson play football.

She had accompanied the rest of the family to the pavilion, to get some refreshments, but lost her balance as she descended the steps outside the building.

She went over the parapet of the stone staircase and fell to the ground some two metres below. As well as suffering serious neck injuries, she also broke her right index finger and lacerated her scalp. She has yet to make a full recovery a year on from the incident.

A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that the staircase had a 40cm high parapet running along the edge of the steps but no handrail.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Edward Walker said: “This was a foreseeable incident which could easily have been avoided had reasonable measures, such as the fitting of guard rails, been taken.

“The school has since fitted wooden rails to the previously unguarded edge, but it should have done this before someone suffered a painful injury.”

In a statement, the school, whose past pupils include Jeremy Clarkson and Basil Rathbone, said it was sorry that Ms Bywater had been hurt

“The school immediately reported the accident and we have co-operated fully with the investigation,” said a spokesman.

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