Pub company charged following Durham student’s death

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A criminal prosecution has been brought against Stonegate Pub Company for alleged health and safety breaches in the year leading up to the death of Olivia Burt, a student who died after being fatally injured after a barrier collapse in 2018

A decision was made last year by the Crown prosecution Service not to bring criminal proceedings due to insufficient evidence for criminal charges of gross negligence and corporate manslaughter. However, has now charged the pub chain with four health and safety breaches. The case is due to be heard at Peterlee Magistrate’s court on the 1st of March. 

Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of community protection said “We can confirm we have served a summons on Stonegate Pub Company for four charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act, in relation to matters dating from February 2017 to February 2018.”

“While proceedings are ongoing, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”

The coroner’s investigation into Ms Burt’s death has been suspended, with Coroner Olivia Longstaff at a hearing today in Durham and Darlington Coroner’s court saying, “I was informed by that a criminal prosecution is being brought against an interested person in the inquiry. Accordingly the coroner’s investigation into Olivia’s death has been suspended until the outcome of those proceedings.”

Olivia Burt was killed in February 2018 after sustaining injuries while queueing outside Missoula nightclub, a branch of Stonegate Pub Company. The 20-year-old was studying Natural Sciences at Durham at the time of her death and was a member of University College.

“We do not understand how our only child died on a night out with friends”

nigel and paula burt

Ms Burt’s parents told the BBC that they welcomed the announcement, but will await the outcome as they “do not understand how our only child died on a night out with friends.” Burt’s parents have previously said that their “nightmare” has only been made worse by delays in the investigation. 

Speaking out about it at a previous hearing, Mr Burt said  “It is exactly 1,353 days since our wonderful daughter Olivia was killed outside Missoula nightclub in Durham in the most horrific circumstances imaginable. Every one of those 1,353 days has been a nightmare made worse by delays in the investigation.”

Since her death, Olivia’s parents have set up Olivia Inspires, which aims to help children and young people aged 11 to 18 whose families live in the New Forest District Council area and are facing financial hardship.

Image Credit – Olivia Inspires

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