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January 31, 2017

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Carer of drowned autistic man admits health and safety breach

A carer of a 29-year-old autistic man who drowned in King’s Mill Reservoir, near Mansfield, on 10 September 2012 while on an activity trip has admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Nikki Deaney, 29, of Sneinton Dale, was “distracted” while using her mobile phone rather than watching  Majid Akhtar, who had the mental age of a four-year-old, an inquest heard. Ms Deaney spent more than 19 minutes on the phone calling and texting contacts over 34 minutes while supervising Mr Akhtar around the lake.

Mr Akhtar was on an activity trip from Springwood Day Centre, Mapperley, when he went for a walk around the resevoir at after a lunch break – instead of going back out on a boat with the rest of the group, the Nottingham Post reported.

Coroner Mr McNamara said: “He walked about three quarters of the way around the path with the care worker.

“Unfortunately, at some point he fell out of the care worker’s view and he was then subsequently found by two people, who were walking their dog, in the reservoir.”

Ms Deaney admitted failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of other persons, including Mr Akhtar, who may have been affected by “her acts or omissions at work”. These included failing to fulfil her duty of care for Mr Akhtar when employed as a care assistant, allowing Mr Akhtar to approach the water at King’s Mill Reservoir unescorted and unsupervised, and failing to provide Mr Akhtar with one-to-one care.

Ms Deaney will remain on bail to attend court for sentencing on February 21.

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Ray Rapp
Ray Rapp

Sad case, what sort of person can be distracted by a mobile phone for over 19 minutes when they should have been looking after a a person with a mental age of a ‘four year old’, adjacent to a reservoir – bizarre!