Surrey

Man sues Godalming Homebase over mother's death fall

Generic Homebase sign
Image caption Mr Widgery is seeking damages to pay for his mother's funeral

The son of a woman who died after falling down stairs at a Homebase store is taking legal action.

Margaret Widgery, 83, lost her balance at the DIY store in Godalming, Surrey, in December 2008 and died the next day.

Her son, Andrew, 60, from Haslemere, said he was seeking a relatively small amount in damages to cover expenses and the cost of his mother's funeral.

Homebase offered its condolences to Mr Widgery but said the staircase conformed to safety regulations.

Mr Widgery said the incident happened after his mother moved over to let another customer pass but the design of the stairs meant she was unable to reach the rail to gain her balance.

The grandmother of four was taken to hospital but never regained consciousness and died the next day, on 21 December 2008.

Mr Widgery said: "This could so easily have been prevented and I am just really worried that nationally nothing has been done to protect customers and that my mum's death meant nothing to them."

A Homebase spokeswoman said: "We understand that this has been very distressing time for Mrs Widgery's family and we would like to express our sympathy for their sad loss.

"Following Mrs Widgery's fall, we invited the HSE [Health and Safety Executive] to inspect the staircase and they confirmed that the staircase complied with the relevant building regulations. We have not had any other reported falls associated with this type of staircase.

"Earlier this year the coroner's court found that Mrs Widgery's fall was an accident and that Homebase was not at fault."

The company confirmed it had received a claim made by Mrs Widgery's family through solicitors but declined to comment further.

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