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The owner of a care home in Derbyshire has been found guilty of a health and safety breach following the 2012 death.

Amber Valley Borough Council brought the case against Gerald Hudson, who was trading as Milford House, when resident Thomasina Bennett, 80, was discovered dead beneath a wardrobe at the home on 9th April, 2012. The jury at Derby Crown Court found Hudson guilty of a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

One of the charges involved the wardrobe not being secured to the wall. However, midway through the trial, the judge ordered that a 'not guilty' verdict was entered by the jury for that charge. The care home had a personal activity monitoring system, which was supposed to alert staff when the resident moved around during the night. However, Hudson had failed to ensure that the system was working and had not provided sufficient training to staff about the monitors and how they should be used.

Bennett had gone to the care home in March 2012 while her daughter was on holiday. Her other daughter, Margaret Calladine, thanked the council for the support provided during the period following the incident until it went to trial.

Calladine expressed her hope that legislation for care homes would be “tightened up” in light of the incident. She explained that the four years until the trial had been an emotional roller coaster for the family.

Although the health and safety act aims to keep workers safe, with the use of PPE and specialist workwear, it also applies to the safety of members of the public.

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