Kaden Reddick died when Topshop barrier fell on him, court hears

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Image source, Family picture
Image caption,
Kaden Reddick was fatally injured at Topshop in Reading's Oracle shopping centre

A 10-year-old boy died when an "insecure and wobbly" queue barrier fell on him in Topshop, a trial heard.

Kaden Reddick suffered a fatal head injury at the store in Reading during a family shopping trip in 2017.

Arcadia Group, Topshop/Topman and Realm Projects deny failing to discharge a health and safety duty.

Jurors also heard a girl suffered a fractured skull six days previously when a similar barrier toppled over at a Topshop branch in Glasgow.

Opening the prosecution case at Reading Crown Court, James Ageros QC argued screws on the barrier had failed.

He said: "[Kaden] was killed when a heavy object, a queue barrier toppled over and hit his forehead after he had been holding on to the edge of it.

"The queue barrier weighed 110kg (243lb) - around 17 stone in imperial measurements - and was situated close to the till point at the store."

Image source, HMCTS
Image caption,
The jury was shown this picture of the white queue barrier around the time it was installed

Mr Ageros told the court the plinth supporting the barrier, at Topshop in Reading's Oracle shopping centre, had only been fixed to the floor with two narrow screws.

He said it was these "completely inappropriate" screws that failed, causing the whole barrier to fall on 13 February 2017.

The jury was shown CCTV footage of the metre-tall barrier, which contained sweets, falling on Kaden.

The barrier was installed between 2013 and 2014 during a major store refit, the court heard.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
The prosecution described the barrier at the Topshop store in Reading as "wobbly"

Mr Ageros said the "barrier had never been subject by any party to any type of stability test between 2014 and the date of the incident" and there was CCTV evidence to "show it had become insecure and wobbly" in the period immediately before the day Kaden died.

The court heard barriers in other Topshop stores had also been unstable.

Skull fracture

Six days earlier a similar barrier, which was entirely unfixed, toppled over in a branch in Glasgow, fracturing the skull of another child.

In 2015 in a Manchester store, another unfixed barrier caused serious injuries to a shopper's foot, which required pinning, the court was told.

Mr Ageros said there had been "a poor design process, poor fitting and a poor response after Glasgow".

He added the "key issue" was did the defendants do "all that was reasonably practicable to control the risk which arose from its business affairs?".

The prosecution claim Arcadia Group, Topshop/Topman and barrier manufacturer Realm Projects Ltd failed to discharge a health and safety duty, which constitutes a criminal offence.

Stoneforce Ltd, which was contracted to fit the barriers, has pleaded guilty to failing to discharge a health and safety duty.

The trial continues.

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