AN engineer facing health and safety charges has denied leaving a lift door unlocked and allowing a pensioner to fall to her death.
Elizabeth Young, 92, suffered fatal injuries when she plunged 10ft down a lift shaft at Heathdale Care Home, Whitley Bay, in September 2010.
Paul Thompson, 60, and his employers Derwent Life Services have denied to a total of five health and safety breaches.
Thompson, who had worked in the industry for 42 years, was called to the home on Saturday, September 18, two days before the accident, to repair the lift which had broken down on the second floor.
The prosecution say that during that visit, he visited the second floor and left the door unlocked.
Susan Hirst, prosecuting, said: “I suggest to you that you went upstairs and unlocked the door and let it swing shut behind you.”
The door needed to be manually locked with a key to secure it.
But taking the stand yesterday at Newcastle Crown Court, Thompson, of Hayleazes Road, Denton Burn, Newcastle, denied her claims.
He said: “I had no need to go to the second floor.”
Thompson told the court the problem with the lift was due to a mechanical part known as the retiring ramp, which had burnt out due to a fault with the lift car door. He was able to carry out repairs from the ground and first floors.
He told staff he would not be able to get the part for a few days and made sure the lift was out of service, disconnecting fuses with an electrician.
Referring to Thompson’s 42 years’ experience, Mark Balysz, defending, said: “Can I suggest to you that it is ingrained in you that you would shut and check every door?”
“Yes,” answered Thompson.