Suffolk

Felixstowe nursing home fined for window fall death

Highcliffe House Nursing Home Image copyright Google
Image caption William Willmott died when he fell from Highcliffe House Nursing Home in Felixstowe

A nursing home and its manager have been fined for failing to keep residents safe after a man died falling from a window.

William Willmott, 79, died from multiple injuries when he fell from Highcliffe House Nursing Home in Felixstowe, Suffolk, on 14 July 2016.

Alison Quilter-Cudworth, 58, and the home pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Social Care Act.

The home was fined £16,500 and Quilter-Cudworth £1,000 plus costs.

'Avoidable harm'

East Suffolk Magistrates' Court was told Mr Willmott moved to the home in March 2016 after he was discharged from Ipswich Hospital with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

He fell from his second floor bedroom where there were no restrictors.

The court heard he had expressed suicidal thoughts on 8 July and said he would jump out of the window.

Bena Brown, legal manager for the Care Quality Commission (CQC), said Mr Willmott was exposed to "avoidable harm".

"Both defendants failed this vulnerable man who relied on them to keep him safe," she said.

Emergency services were called to the Cobbold Road home at 06:10 BST.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

'Isolated incident'

The CQC had not raised the issue of the lack of window restrictors during its inspection in May 2016, the court was told.

It was raised as a "medium priority" in recommendations made by independent health and safety advisors in February 2016, which were "being worked through".

The home had an "exemplary" health and safety record and had taken measures to prevent a similar incident.

The court heard Quilter-Cudworth, of The Trotters, Alderton, and the directors of Highcliffe House Ltd "profoundly regretted" Mr Willmott's death.

District Judge Celia Dawson said it was an "isolated incident".

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