SULLY Sports and Leisure Club has been accused of failing to light up a patio area which led to the death of a man who broke his neck after falling from a low wall.
Barry Plastics Sports and Leisure Ltd is appearing at Newport Crown Court accused of breaching health and safety laws by failing to provide adequate lighting in the patio area of Sully Sports and Leisure Club.
Robert ‘Bob’ Kemp died at the age of 62 in July 2012 after falling from a low wall following a civil partnership party at the Sully Sports and Leisure Club on June 30, 2012.
An inquest into his death in January last year recorded a narrative verdict, with the coroner stating that the circumstances were unclear but she believed an inadequate level of lighting was a factor.
His daughter- in-law Emily Booker, who was called up as a witness at the court case on Tuesday (June 17), said that after giving a speech and singing two Frank Sinatra songs, including My Way, Mr Kemp had left the party with her mother.
Her mother returned to the party to pick up her flowers while he went outside, near the car park entrance, to wait for her.
It was shortly after that Mr Kemp was found at the bottom of a low brick wall near the steps of the car park.
When Miss Booker heard what happened she told the court she “hurdled chairs” as she ran to the front of the building, before giving CPR to Mr Kemp.
She added that the lights weren’t on at the front of the building and people were using mobile phones to light up the area as they tried to resuscitate Mr Kemp.
Mark Giles, who was working as a barman at the social club, later added that people also used car headlights to brighten up the scene as they waited for paramedics to arrive.
He saidhe was unsure whether the lights were on beforehand as it was nearly two years ago. He added that he was not given any health and safety training or an induction when he started working at the club, but that he had learnt about it when he was studying vehicle repair and engineering at college.
During his evidence he said that before big functions they would do a walk around the building to ensure there were no spillages or trip hazards.
He added that the members bar, which is closer to the car park than the function room, closed at around 11.30pm and he didn’t know who was responsible for switching on the lights outside it.
The incident involving Mr Kemp happened at around 12.20am, and Mr Giles was the first person to call the emergency services.
The ambulance arrived around 25 minutes later and took Mr Kemp to the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) where he was admitted to the intensive care unit.
Dr Nicholas Stallard, a consultant at the intensive care unit of UHW, said that the vertebraes at the top of his spine were broken by a fall that caused “crunching the bones in the neck”.
He added that a “significant blunt force” to the back of the neck caused this as Mr Kemp didn't have any other conditions such as Osteoporosis.
He added that there was no evidence from either the ECG or CT scan, as well as a blood test, that Mr Kemp had a heart attack, and that they were unable to tell whether Mr Kemp had fainted.
Dr Stallard, who has been a consultant for more than 17 years, added that Mr Kemp’s death was caused by a lack of blood supply to the brain and irreversible damage to the brain, probably caused by damage to the vertebra arteries.
He added that his neck “broke the fall” and that scans showed “multiple fractures of the vertebra with significant trauma to the back of the neck”.
Barry Plastics and Sports Leisure Ltd deny the charges and, at the time of going to press, were due to give their defence yesterday (weds).