Mother talks about & # 39; unimaginable & # 39; loss of the death of her daughter, whose head was stuck in a wrong lift
Two companies have been fined more than £ 1.5 million over the death of a five-year-old girl who died while her mother talks about her "unimaginable loss."
Alexys Brown, known as Lexi, died from & # 39; gruesome & # 39; head and neck injuries after she got stuck between the lift and the ceiling of her house in Weymouth, Dorset in August 2015.
Housing association Synergy Housing Ltd, owner of the property where Alexys lived with her family, was fined £ 1 million.
Maintenance contractor Orona Ltd, who was responsible for the maintenance and maintenance of the lift, was fined £ 533,000.
Alexys Brown, known as Lexi, who died on & # 39; gruesome & # 39; head and neck injuries after she got stuck between the elevator and the ceiling of her house in Weymouth, Dorset
The family told researchers from the Health and Safety Executive that there were constant problems with the lift since the start of the operation (photo)
Lorraine Brown, the mother of Alexys Brown, with health inspectorate (HSE) inspector Leo Diez, reads a statement outside Bournemouth Crown Court
Mother Lorraine Brown described the last three years as & # 39; unimaginable & # 39 ;.
She said: "Keep your children tighter, love your family a bit harder because you never know when you are no longer able to do."
"The loss of Alexys has had a huge impact on our lives and the lives of our children," she said.
& # 39; Nothing can ever bring Alexys back to us. The fines for us are not relevant. All we ever wanted was an apology from Synergy and we have that.
& # 39; Alexys was a loving, carefree and angelic girl who was full of energy, love and fun.
I hope that what happened to our family sheds light on others to prevent something like this once again.
We are now looking forward to educating our children with memories, photos, videos & # 39; s and stories about their sister. & # 39;
Firefighters had to free Alexys because there was no emergency key or handle to free her manually, the court heard. The picture shows police outside her house after her death
Mrs. Brown, who was accompanied by her husband Matthew, added: "Keep your children a little tighter and keep your family a little louder. You never know when you can no longer. & # 39;
Bournemouth Crown Court heard that the incident happened when Alexys' older brother, who was a wheelchair user, asked her to go upstairs to get his cell phone.
When the girl went on the platform lift, she could put her head through a hole in the panel of the perspex door, which had not been repaired – so she could fall into the trap.
The grandmother of the children, who cared for them, heard the boy shout and hurried to the scene. She tried to free her granddaughter but was unable to call the emergency services.
Firefighters had to free Alexys because there was no emergency key or handle to free her manually, the court heard.
Unfortunately, Alexys could not be saved and she died on the spot by head and neck injuries.
The Brown family moved to the three-bedroom building in 2009 because it already had the elevator installed and would be of use to their disabled son.
They told researchers from the Health and Safety Executive that there had been constant problems with the lift since the elevator was commissioned, including the doors that did not open. In May 2015, the perspex panel was damaged and should have been repaired or replaced.
Diagram of how the lift worked from the original manual
The lift must be serviced every six months and subjected to a thorough investigation twice a year. by an external insurer.
That investigation was last carried out in 2012 after Synergy told the insurance company that the lift had been removed.
Orona had twice mentioned a price to Synergy to replace the elevator, but the housing corporation did not approve the work because instead it was investigating the construction of an extension on the ground floor.
Ms. Brown told Bournemouth Crown Court yesterday that her other children broke & # 39; were by the devastation caused by Alexys' death.
She said: "The heartache and emotion with which they have suffered by losing their sister and best friend and the circumstances of her death make it impossible.
& # 39; My son Jack had to witness something that people could not even have nightmares about.
& # 39; He receives treatment for PTSD, he does not sleep or eat. He carries a huge amount of debt that he simply can not let go. What he saw, we can only imagine.
"We thought that Alexys had been sent to us for a reason, at a time when we had a terrible diagnosis with Jack.
& # 39; Alexys & # 39; Jack gave something to look forward to. She was and is his guardian angel. She gave him a reason to fight, to be, to live and that the reason was gone, along with his fight.
& # 39; Our lives never sleep because of thousands, what if and why is not. The silence is deafening, worse every day. As time goes by, we just miss her more.
We should have been able to protect her and that was taken away from us. It is simply heartbreaking. & # 39;
At a previous hearing, both companies pleaded for one complaint under the law on health and safety at work.
Dominic Kay QC, for Synergy, said: & Synergy accepts his shortcomings wholeheartedly. It is important to understand the feelings of regret and regret at Synergy. & # 39;
James Ageros QC, representative of Orona, expressed his "sincere regret and sympathy & # 39; with the Alexys family.
& # 39; Nothing I say is meant to detract from the human tragedy of this matter, & # 39; he added.
When passing a sentence, Judge Stephen Climie mentioned several shortcomings, including the failure to ensure proper maintenance and repair of the lift.
"No one should ever lose sight of the fact that these were industrial machines that were present in a home environment with young children, which should have always resulted in the most careful assessment of safety measures and controls," he said.
Each defendant has accepted responsibility on the basis of plea documents and has accepted that they are to a certain extent responsible for causing the death of Alexys.
& # 39; Between them I am satisfied that they were fully responsible for her death and the desperate loss for her family. & # 39;
Both companies have to pay 40,000 pounds in prosecution. The costs of a third company, Aster Property Ltd, had to be in the file.
After praising the verdict, Judge Climie praised the Brown family for the "dignity and strength that many of us would overcome."
It is clear that the family feels responsible for the death of Alexys. The only error that stuck to Alexys & # 39; death in this case is with the defendants, & # 39; he said.
& # 39; No words or actions of this court can compensate the family for their loss.
& # 39; The financial sanctions imposed in this case are not a reflection of the value of her life. She was beautiful and she was priceless. & # 39;
The list of fatal errors included;
* A key switch that prevents the lift from being used without supervision has never been given to the family
* A handle to operate the emergency lowering system was never delivered to the family
* The family has never received training when operating the lift or a user manual
* In 2012 Orona Synergy quoted £ 14,000 for a new lift after a series of shortcomings with the existing one but this was never followed
* A third party insurance company stopped biennial inspections of the elevator in 2012 because it was wrongly told that the elevator was removed
* Orona was informed of the damaged door three months before the tragedy, but nothing was done to remedy this.
The Browns were so concerned about the safety of the elevator that they had applied for a building permit to extend their house at the end of the terrace so that Jack could have his bedroom downstairs.
Today, a judge in Bournemouth Crown Court fined Synergy, part of Aster Group, £ 1 million. Orona Ltd was fined £ 533,000. Both companies were instructed to pay £ 40,000 for the costs of the prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive.
Alexys Brown, 11, was killed when her head got stuck in a hole in the broken panel of the perspex of the wheelchair with a disability in her house
Judge Stephen Climie told Alexys & # 39; parents, Lorraine and Matthew, that the penalty was in no way a reflection of the value of their lives. beautiful and priceless daughter.
He said: "The Browns have acted with extraordinary dignity and have shown strength in the face of adversity that many of us would surpass.
I want to express my condolences and sympathy. Alexys would have been proud of every member of her family if she had been here today.
& # 39; No words or actions of this court will ever compensate the Browns for their loss.
& # 39; The financial sanctions that have to be imposed do not in any way reflect the value of Alexys' life. She was beautiful and she was priceless. & # 39;
Mrs. Brown, 33, said: "Knowing that it could have been prevented makes my anger angry. Someone has failed our family and must take responsibility.
& # 39; Our lives never sleep because of thousands & # 39; what ifs & # 39; & & # 39; why did not Is & # 39 ;. The silence is deafening, worse every day. As time goes by, we just miss her more.
We should have been able to protect her and that was taken away from us. It is simply heartbreaking.
& # 39; The world just kept moving and ours just stood still. The pain in our hearts will never end. Losing a child is not sad, there are no words. & # 39;
The Browns moved in 2009 to the house with three bedrooms. The elevator was installed for Jack who has had a neuro-degenerative disease since the age of five.
On the day of the tragedy, August 13, 2015, Alexys and Jack were home and cared for by their grandmother who was in another room when her granddaughter stepped into the elevator.
Sara Lawson QC, who sued for the Health and Safety Executive, said: & # 39; The catalog of failures and the lack of controls by these companies led to the death of Alexys.
& # 39; The elevator was in an unsatisfactory state when it was in use. If the hole was not present or if there was sufficient control of the key switch at the time that this incident would not have occurred.
& # 39; The existing systems were not rigorous enough and there had been problems with the emergency lowering system since the beginning of the brown family's rent and nothing had been done about it. & # 39;
Synergy Housing and Orona Limited have admitted that they have not implemented their health and safety tasks, which is in violation of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Alexy's mother Lorraine Brown with HSE inspector Leo Diez outside the court
Dominic Kay, representative of Synergy Housing, said: & # 39; The upset, regret and regret are felt at all levels of Synergy and Aster. The whole purpose of these organizations is to help people who need help and everyone is devastated by what has happened.
The CEO, finance director, housing director, operations director and head of health and safety are all here because they believe it is their duty to represent the company and to hear what is said by the Crown and Mrs. Brown.
& # 39; They have not picked this up, valuable lessons have been learned to ensure that such a thing will never happen again. & # 39;
James Agaros, Orona representative, said: "Everyone at Orona expresses his sincere regret and sympathy to the Brown family.
& # 39; The company is represented at the highest echelons of the organization as a representation of the seriousness with which they handle this.
& # 39; This is a company where systems are installed and the systems have fallen and are not properly implemented.
Synergy says that Orona was their specialized advisor, but Orona has advised twice to remove the elevator and quote quotations.
& # 39; They can not say & # 39; we relied on our specialized advisor & # 39 ;, but if they give you advice, do not take it. & # 39;