Care home in court after death of elderly resident

The owners of a North Yorkshire care home where an elderly woman died after being left in an '˜inappropriately' cold room have pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations.

Oaklands Country Rest Home in Kirk Hammerton.

Dementia sufferer Annie Barritt, 91, was taken to Harrogate hospital after being found unwell in her room at the Oaklands Country Rest Home in Kirk Hammerton on Sunday November 4, 2012.

Her temperature was found to be 25.3°C, rather than the average normal body temperature of 37°C. Mrs Barritt died that night.

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An inquest into her death was held in November 2015 and found that there had been an inappropriately low temperature in her room and a failure to provide adequate basic care.

Mrs Barritt had been suffering from dementia and as a consequence was unable to make a decision regulating the temperature in her room, the coroner had said.

Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) launched its own investigation into her death, which found there had been a serious breach of health and safety legislation.

The authority found there was sufficient evidence to summons Maria Mallaband Care Group Limited, the owners of the care home, to court charged with one offence contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Yesterday, on Friday June 17 at Harrogate Magistrates Court, Maria Mallaband Care Group Limited entered a plea of guilty to the offence.

Magistrates agreed with Harrogate Borough Council that sentencing should take place at York Crown Court as their sentencing powers were not sufficient and that greater punishment was needed.

Magistrates committed the case for sentencing to York Crown Court with a provisional date set for of Friday July 8.