Five-year-old Alexys Brown died after her head became trapped in a plexiglass panel on a lift in her home, an English court heard.
Alexys, known to her family as Lexi, became stuck in the lift in her home in Weymouth, Dorset in August 2015, resulting in “horrific” head and neck injuries, the jury at Bournemouth Crown Court were told.
Both Synergy Housing Limited, a housing association, and Orana Limited, the lift maintenance firm responsible for the upkeep of the lift in Alexys’ home, have pled guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work act 1974.
In May 2015, less than three months before Alexys’ death, an inspection of the lift was carried out, which identified damage to the door – but this was not repaired. The court were also told that Alexys’ family were not provided with keys for the lift, which would have prevented her from using it unsupervised, and it lacked an emergency handle which would have allowed it to be manually operated in case of emergency.
The court heard that the life had not been inspected since January 2012, despite needing servicing every six months, as the insurance company had been led to believe the lift had been removed from the premises.
These factors prevented Alexys’ grandmother from freeing her from the lift, where her head was trapped between the lift and the ground-floor ceiling, causing her horrific injuries. Firefighters were forced to cut her free from the lift, but Alexys died at the scene.
The incident has left her older brother Jack, who was 11 at the time and lives with a disability, traumatised and guilty over what happened. Lorraine Brown, the children’s mother, told the court: “The heartache and emotion they have had to face of losing their sister and best friend and the circumstances of her death make it impossible. My son Jack had to witness something people wouldn’t even be able to have nightmares about.
“He is receiving treatment for PTSD, he doesn’t sleep or eat. He carries a huge amount of guilt he just cannot let go of. What he witnessed we can only imagine.”
The trial continues, with sentencing expected to be carried out later today.Get your copy of UNITE Magazine