Hartlepool care home boss denies safety breaches after resident, 90, plunges to death

Matt Matharu at Teesside Crown Court
Matt Matharu at Teesside Crown Court

A 90-YEAR-OLD resident of a care home plunged to her death from a window she should not have been able to open, a court heard.

Norah Elliott climbed through the window of the first floor room she shared with her husband Bob at the Parkview Home in Station Lane, Seaton Carew.

Matt Matharu at Teesside Crown Court ''17 November 2014

Matt Matharu at Teesside Crown Court ''17 November 2014

She fell on to the roof of a conservatory, and then to the ground, Teesside Crown Court was told.

Care home owner Matt Matharu, 50, of Elwick Road, Hartlepool, denies four charges of breaching health and safety regulations in relation Mrs Elliott’s death on October 22, 2012.

The jury heard there should have been working restrictors on the windows.

Matharu, who owns other care homes in the Hartlepool area, is also accused of failing to carry out a risk assessment and failing to keep proper records.

James Kemp, prosecuting, said: “Mr Maharu told police at the scene things were fixed as they came up.

“He said he didn’t know how to carry out a risk assessment, and the home’s maintenance book had disappeared when a previous handyman left.

“The prosecution’s case is there were no maintenance records, and there was no evidence of proactive or preventative maintenance at the home.”

The court heard that on the evening of her death, she had gone ‘walkabout’ in the grounds of home and had been returned to her room by staff.

“Mrs Elliott did not regain consciousness,” said Mr Kemp.

“She died later in James Cook University Hospital.

“Police were called to the home and they examined the room, which had two forward-facing windows.

“The left hand window had an opening restrictor, but a police officer was able to break it with minimum force.

“The right hand window, through which Mrs Elliott had exited, had no restrictor.

“There were two screw holes.

“A search of the room, and the area outside, failed to find a restrictor or parts of one.

“Neither was there one found when police searched Mrs Elliott’s clothing.”

The court was told that Mrs Elliott did not like being in a home, but wanted to be with her husband.

She suffered from mild dementia, but her condition was much less severe than her husband’s.

The jury heard that in the weeks leading to her death, Mrs Elliott had seen a solicitor about buying a sheltered flat for her and her husband.

The trial is expected to last up to 10 days.