Council prosecuted after Legionnaires’ death
Reading Borough Council is being prosecuted after a 95-year-old man died from Legionnaires’ disease believed to have been caught from a tap in his care home bedroom.
The council is being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a coroner ruled that Lewis Payne died on 1 November 2012 of Legionella pneumonia, caused by the Legionnaire bacteria.
Mr Payne, of Knights Way, Emmer Green, contracted Legionnaires’ disease while staying at the council-run care home The Willows, in Hexham Road, Whitley.
The council is being prosecuted following an investigation by HSE.
The case is due to begin in October, when the council will enter a plea to the charge of failing to discharge its duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
A spokesman from Reading Borough Council said: “We would again like to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr Payne.
“We have worked closely with both the Health Protection Agency and the Health and Safety Executive in responding to this case.
“The Council cannot comment further at this stage due to the imminent court case.”
An inquest into Mr Payne’s death in May 2013 heard he tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease after being admitted to hospital.
The same form of bacteria was found in his wash basin tap at the care home.
Recording a narrative verdict, coroner Peter Bedford said: “Tests confirmed that the strand of Legionnaires’ found in the wash basin of Mr Payne’s room is the same type, that is not particularly common, found in his urine sample, supporting the view that on the balance of probability the tap was the source of the Legionnaires’ disease.
“While Legionnaires’ disesase was the principal cause of death subsequent attempts to eradicate it has not proved completely successful.”