Tyne & Wear

Death fall lift engineer was 'highly experienced'

An engineer accused of breaching health and safety regulations after a 92-year-old woman died using a broken lift, was "highly experienced", a court heard.

Elizabeth Young died at the Heathdale Rest Home in Whitley Bay after falling 10ft (3m) from the second floor in September 2010.

The jury heard the lift was disconnected two days before her death.

Paul Thompson and Derwent Lift Services Ltd deny charges of breaching health and safety regulations.

The jury at Newcastle Crown Court heard Mr Thompson worked as a "highly experienced" lift engineer for more than 40 years, 17 of those working for Derwent Lift Services Ltd.

However, he had "no formal health and safety training in recent years", the jury was told.

Disconnected power

The lift was taken out of service by Mr Thompson two days before Mrs Young's death.

The court heard how Mr Thompson had managed to move the broken lift up from the ground to the first floor as he tried to fix it.

He told the court it would have taken two days to get a new part, so he disconnected the power and the outer doors to the lift.

He said he did not go up to the second floor where Mrs Young lived, because he had "no need to" as the the lift doors could not be opened without a key.

Prosecutor Susan Hirst said: "I suggest to you that for whatever reason, you did go up to the second floor, you unlocked the lift door and simply allowed it to simply swing shut behind you and walked away."

"No I would never do that... because it wouldn't be safe," Mr Thompson said.

Mr Thompson, of Denton Burn, Newcastle, and Derwent Lift Services Ltd based in Stanley, County Durham, are accused of charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The trial continues.

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