Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Bonnyrigg care home owner fined after grandmother's fatal fall

Sheila Whitehead Image copyright family handout
Image caption Sheila Whitehead died after falling down stairs at the care home

A Midlothian care home has been fined £40,000 after a grandmother fell down stairs to her death.

Nazareth Care Charitable Trust had previously pleaded guilty to health and safety violations.

It admitted not doing enough to prevent 87-year-old Sheila Whitehead from losing her life at its care home in Bonnyrigg.

Mrs Whitehead's family said they were "upset and disappointed at the level of fine imposed".

'Excessive and disproportionate'

The lawyer for Mrs Whitehead's family, Natalie Donald from Thompsons Solicitors, said: "They cannot understand why such a low value has been put on the life of their very much loved mother and grandmother.

"They are also at a loss as to why a lower fine was imposed due to Nazareth Care Home being a charity.

"Why should a charity be held to a different standard from anyone else operating a care home?"

Mrs Whitehead, who had poor eyesight, stumbled past a red rope which was supposed to hold residents back.

She died after falling down stairs at the home in 2017.

Investigators found the rope was not strong enough to bear any great weight.

The sheriff at Edinburgh Sheriff Court said the guidelines stated the starting point for a fine was £600,000 but he felt this was "excessive and disproportionate".

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