BBC News

Church admits blame over pensioner's Dundee care home death

Published
image captionWellburn Care Home closed shortly after Mr Connor's death

The Catholic Church has admitted it was to blame for the death of a 94-year-old man who died after falling from a Dundee care home window in 2017.

Peter Connor fell from the second floor of Wellburn Care Home, which was run by the Church's Diocese of Dunkeld.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Dunkeld Trust admitted criminal responsibility for Mr Connor's death at the home.

A court heard the home failed to put security on its windows to prevent them being fully opened by residents.

Mr Connor, who suffered from dementia, fell nearly 30 feet onto concrete after climbing out of a second floor window a fortnight after moving into the church-run care home.

Blunt force trauma

Dundee Sheriff Court was told he had fractured his pelvis in two places and broken several ribs and had died as a result of the blunt force trauma caused by his fall.

The court was told that two-hourly checks were carried out on Mr Connor but his 06:00 check was missed because the nurse was busy dealing with another resident.

Fiscal depute William Duffy told the court that Mr Connor could become confused and had difficulty carrying out tasks such as dressing himself.

He said that Mr Connor's second-floor window was "not restricted in any way".

Mr Duffy said: "The room had not been fitted with any form of restrictor which would prevent a whole body from entering or exiting the window.

"The Diocese failed to implement window restrictors at the care home.

"Appropriate investment had not been made. It appears that was due to the care home being kept running until new premises could be built."

'Profound regret'

The court was told that the care home was closed shortly after Mr Connor's death and all of the residents were rehoused elsewhere.

Peter Gray QC, for the Church, said: "It is a matter of most profound regret and remorse in equal measure that he lost his life as a result of failings for which the Diocese is responsible."

He said the failure to install window restrictors was a "genuine and honest oversight" and "a risk that was never picked up."

Sheriff Alistair Carmichael deferred sentence to consider the level of fine to impose.

Mr Connor's family indicated previously they are suing the Church over the death.