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Topshop and Arcadia guilty of safety breaches

Topshop and its former owners have been found guilty of health and safety breaches after a 10-year-old boy died when a queue barrier toppled on him.

Kaden Reddick suffered a fatal head injury at the Reading store during a family shopping trip in 2017.

Following a two-month trial, Arcadia Group and Topshop/Topman were convicted of failing to discharge a health and safety duty.

A jury found barrier manufacturer Realm Projects not guilty of the same charge.

Stoneforce Ltd, which was contracted to fit the barriers, had earlier pleaded guilty to failing to discharge a health and safety duty.

During the trial, Reading Crown Court heard the barrier was installed between 2013 and 2014, during a major store refit.

The plinth supporting the barrier at the store in Reading's Oracle shopping centre had only been fixed to the floor with two narrow screws and the “wobbly” barrier fell on Kaden, prosecutors said.

The prosecution claimed the screws were inappropriate and more suitable for hanging a picture.

Topshop and Arcadia were convicted of failure to discharge health and safety duties, failing to ensure that the design, manufacture and maintenance of the barrier did not pose a risk to the health and safety of someone not employed by them under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Arcadia, Topshop/Topman and Stoneforce Ltd will be sentenced at a later date.

BBC News March 2022


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