Jury set to retire in Hartlepool care home safety-failure trial

The Parkview care home in Station Lane, Seaton Carew, where a resident fell to her death after climbing out of a first floor window. Below, owner Matt Matharu.
The Parkview care home in Station Lane, Seaton Carew, where a resident fell to her death after climbing out of a first floor window. Below, owner Matt Matharu.
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PROSECUTORS made their final attempt to convince a jury that a care home boss is guilty of safety breaches after a 90-year-old resident climbed out of a first-floor window and plunged to the ground.

Matt Matharu, 50, who owns Parkview residential home in Seaton Carew, has been standing trial at Teesside Crown Court over the alleged failings.

Matt Matharu

Matt Matharu

Norah Elliott climbed out of her upstairs bedroom window and fell from a conservatory roof.

Mrs Elliott, who, the jury heard had been agitated, suffered serious injuries in the fall and later died.

Hartlepool Borough Council is prosecuting Matharu, who they says bears ultimate responsibility for safety within the home.

The prosecution say there was no chain on the bedroom window, or if there was, it was not good enough to protect Mrs Elliott.

The trial has heard evidence that no chain was found following the incident on October 22, in 2012.

Ambulance worker, Michael Higham, who gave evidence, claimed the home’s manager Barbara Jacques told him there was no lock on the window following a recent refurbishment.

James Kemp, prosecuting, said in his speech to the jury: “When you add up the lack of screws, the lack of a chain, the searching, what you know about Mrs Elliott, the comment by Mrs Jacques, it’s quite easy to come to the conclusion that you are sure that window restrictor was not there.”

Mr Kemp added even if the jury did think or were not sure the chain was there that Maharu was still guilty as it had failed.

“A 90-year-old woman has been able to override the window restrictor and get out,” he said.

“If it was there and was robust enough, it shouldn’t be defeated regardless of what she does.”

Matharu, of Elwick Road, Hartlepool, claims the window was fitted with a chain and that the council had not raised any concerns about window safety in recent inspections.

He denies two counts of failing to ensure people were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

The jury are expected to consider their verdicts today.