Pontin’s takes ‘no part’ in death case

Pontin's, Blackpool  / view
Pontin's, Blackpool / view
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BOSSES at the former Pontin’s holiday camp have turned their back on a court case involving the death of a woman who caught Legionnaires Disease on the Fylde coast.

Relatives of mother-of-two Karen Taylor – who died following a nine day break at the Blackpool camp in 2009 – have been told there was “no chance” of any fine being paid.

Blackpool magistrates were told the lives of thousands of staff and holidaymakers were put at risk by the doomed company.

Pontin’s folded in November last year after racking up crippling £33m debts.

But Pontin’s Ltd is now charged with putting the lives of staff at risk by exposure to Legionnaires.

They also face a second offence of putting the lives of holidaymakers at risk.

At the hearing however, Tom Hart, representing Pontin’s, told District Judge Jeff Brailsford he would be having nothing more to do with the case and the company and their administrators “did not intend to enter any plea or attend any hearing”.

An investigation was launched by Fylde Council and the Health Protection Agency when Mrs Taylor from Birmingham was taken ill after her stay at Clifton Drive North camp in July 2009.

She later died in hospital.

A Derbyshire woman Margaret Coop also spent five weeks in intensive care after staying in the same apartment block.

Simon Parrington, prosecuting, told the court how tests on the camp’s water system revealed water in the cold system was too warm, causing Legionnella bacteria.

Water in the hot system was also found to be of an inadequate temperature to kill the bacteria, allowing it to multiply.

Since the death, the camp has been demolished and planning permission for housing sought by developer Northern Trust.

Mr Parrington added: “Pontin’s, its administrators and its directors have all been served with the summonses but will take no part in the case.

“We have decided proceedings should continue for the sake of the Taylor family and the need to send a message to the industry about the danger of Legionnaires.”

He said it was clear there was no chance of any fine being paid by Pontin’s – even a nominal £1 fine.

The judge referred the case in the company’s absence to be heard at Preston Crown Court.

Mr Brailsford said: ”I am told the defendants will take no part and have enormous debts. But a huge number of people are said to have been put at risk – one woman was very ill and tragically another died.”

Pontin’s has since been bought by the Britannia Hotel Group who can continue to operate under the name. Nobody from the company was available to comment.