Essex

Basildon Council fined over girl's wall fall injury

Wall collapse
Image caption The 6ft (1.82m) wall collapsed on to the girl in Fleetway, Vange, Essex

A council has been fined more than £133,000 after a 6ft (1.8m) wall fell, seriously injuring a six-year-old girl.

Basildon Council previously accepted fault for the wall collapsing on a housing estate, on 14 August 2016.

The girl was airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries after the wall collapsed on her in Fleetway, Vange, at Basildon Crown Court heard.

The council, which was also ordered to pay £21,419 costs, said it had since taken steps to increase safety.

The child, who survived the incident, spent seven days in intensive care with a bleed on her brain, liver and she also had a broken collarbone.

The girl now suffers from concentration and hearing problems because of the accident, the court heard.

Image caption Basildon Council pleaded guilty to not conducting maintenance and repair of boundary walls

Prosecutors claimed Basildon Council had not inspected the wall for two years before the accident, despite being repeatedly phoned by residents and despite a surveyor saying it was at a moderate risk of falling and was leaning to one side.

The council's barrister suggested the wall fell because of attempts to climb it.

Sentencing the authority Judge John Lodge said someone could have died in the wall collapse.

He said: "As is often the case, it takes an accident for it to be realised that what had been done previously was inadequate."

But Judge Lodge added it was clear the council took immediate action to make the wall safe after the accident.

Basildon Council has been approached for comment.

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