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April 11, 2013

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Falling plant-holder seriously injured pub customer

A London pub-owner has been fined £70,000 over an incident in which a customer was hit by a falling plant-holder and sustained serious injuries.

The 54kg planter fell on 49-year-old Margaret Jackson from a first-floor ledge of the Sussex Arms, Paddington, in October 2010.
Mrs Jackson suffered a fractured spine, severe head injuries and broken ribs. She spent 10 weeks in hospital following the accident and has been unable to return to work as a painter and decorator.

Sitting on 10 April, Southwark Crown Court heard that the accident happened when a guest staying at the pub opened an illegally installed window, knocking the planter from a first-floor ledge directly above where Mrs Jackson was sitting.

It was explained to the court that the windows were changed without planning permission in 2009 from sash to outward-opening, and the planter was placed on the ledge in front. Despite being ordered to change them back by the Council, nothing was done.

Prosecutor Adrian Chaplin explained: “The planter weighed 54 kilos and fell 2.7m. There was an awning above, so anyone sitting underneath would have been unaware of what was above them.”€

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8 years ago

Preumably the planter was absent when the replacement windows were observed by the LA inspector?

Or was the LA inspector unaware of the risk as was the Landlord, and none the wiser thereafter?

I would be seriously agrieved if the LA had failed to notice the risk when requesting the windows be replaced back to box sash.

How long is an acceptable time frame to replace windows once having been served notice by the LA?

Are these not potential aggrevating factors to be considered?