Stonegate Pub Company fined £1.56 million over the the death of Olivia Burt

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Stonegate Pub Company, have been found guilty of one breach of the Health and Safety Regulations Act over the death of Oliva Burt. The pub chain has been fined £1.56 million pounds over the breach. 

Stonegate Pub Company, which is the UK’s largest pub company, operated Missoula, the club where Ms Burt suffered her fatal injuries in 2018. 

Ms Burt who was a first year student studying Natural Sciences and a member of the Durham University sailing team, died after sustaining a head injury from a falling screen which was being used for crowd control.

During the trial, the jury heard that the screen had first fallen shortly after 23:15 and had been lifted back into place half an hour before it fell onto Ms Burt. 

Jamie Hill KC, prosecuting for Durham County Council, said earlier in the trial that Ms Burt at the time of her death had been standing with her friends, waiting to get into a club which had targeted the student population

He went on to say that Ms Burt deserved to be kept safe, highlighting the written politics in place for large organisations.

The jury returned their guilty verdict, a breach of Health and Safety regulations, yesterday. Judge Howard Crowson who presided over the case decided on the fine today, though said that a fine would not compensate for Olivia’s death. 

“Our heartbreak and pain have been prolonged by Stonegate pleading not guilty and fighting the case to trial.”

Judge Crowson directed the jury on Tuesday to clear Stonegate Pub Company on three other charges relating to the Health and Safety at Work Act. 

In a statement released following the verdict, Ms Burt’s parents, Nigel and Paula Burt said, “Olivia was our only child and meant everything to us. It is incomprehensible to us how she could have died on a night out with friends whilst simply standing in a queue.

“Stonegate should never have used decorative fencing for crowd management. Stonegate knew the fencing was not safe [and] showed a complete dereliction of their duties and disregard for the safety of those attending, including Olivia. 

“Our heartbreak and pain have been prolonged by Stonegate pleading not guilty and fighting the case to trial. 

“No punishment will bring Olivia back, but we ask the court to impose the maximum sentence in recognition of the fact that Stonegate was responsible for Olivia’s death and destroying our family.

“Our lives will never be the same again – we are heartbroken.”

Image: Olivia Inspires

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