1. ITV Report

Patient death was 'preventable'

Greenacres care home in Banbury Photo: ITV Meridian

A care home has been fined £150, 015 after a man with serious learning difficulties choked to death on chips.

Mark Lawrence died when mistakes by Caretech Limited left him with access to food, despite his eating disorder, at the Greenacres care home in Banbury.

A court heard how the compulsive eater was moved to a room adjacent to the cooking area despite his condition. When the kitchen was unmanned he took a bowl of chips.

The 55 year old was later found dead on his bed, having choked on the food.

The company pleaded guilty to the offences, and says since the incident it's introduced more rigorous controls.

Company statement:

On 20th July 2012 at Oxford Crown Court, CareTech Community Services (No. 2) Limited, a company owned by CareTech Holdings PLC, was fined £150,015 and ordered to pay prosecution costs in respect of two health and safety offences, to which the company had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

In the company’s long history this was its first health and safety offence.

The company's Directors conveyed to the court and to the deceased's family their profound regret that the death was in part attributable to shortcomings for which the company was responsible.

Following this incident the company introduced a more rigorous control system for the support of residents who have compulsive eating disorders and completely overhauled its procedures for reporting incidents to the enforcing authorities.