Topshop and Arcadia group both guilty in case of barrier that killed boy, 10

  • Kaden's mother Lisa Mallett speaks outside Reading Crown Court

Topshop and the Arcadia Group have both been found guilty of health and safety failings that led to the death of a Reading schoolboy.

The guilty verdict comes after a 10-week trial and four days of deliberation by a jury at Reading Crown Court.

Speaking outside the court, Kaden's mother Lisa Mallett said: "Kaden was killed in a place that should have been safe , in front of my mum, myself and my 2 and a half year old daughter.

"Witnessing Kaden smashed into the floor by the barrier and the aftermath is something I will see until my dying days.

"Kaden was such a lovely, loving cheeky boy, his life was only just beginning and he had so many things to look forward to.

Kaden Reddick's family said he was an adventurous boy who loved playing in the local woods with his friends

"All of that was taken away from him, from his family and his friends... It is clear to us Kaden's death should have been prevented, as a family we should have just celebrated his 16th birthday on March the 8th.

"A lot of witnesses in court have used the words "should have and expected to" and all we can say is I expected to and should have walked out of Topshop that day with Kaden walking next to me, instead Kaden was killed".

The jury had been told Kaden Reddick was killed at The Oracle shopping centre when a 17-stone barrier in Topshop fell on his forehead.

The foreman said Sir Philip Green's former retail empire Arcadia and Topshop were both guilty but cleared the barrier's manufacturers, Realm, of blame.

A photo of the display barrier when it was installed in the Topshop store in 2014

Three companies were prosecuted by Reading Borough Council over the death; Topshop, its parent company the Arcadia Group and Realm Projects, all charged with breaching health and safety duties.

A fourth company, which fitted the barrier inside the store, had already pleaded guilty.

During the trial, Reading Crown Court heard that the barrier which was around one metre tall, two metres wide and weighed appropriately 17 stone had been fixed to the floor by two small screws.

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

The jury was played CCTV footage of the moments prior to Kaden's death.

He can be seen grabbing onto the barrier before leaning backwards as if he was attempting to push himself underneath it.

The jury were also told that six days prior to the barrier falling on Kaden, a similar barrier inside a Topshop store in Glasgow toppled over leaving a young girl with a fractured skull.

Following that incident, an investigation into the safety of the barriers was launched but prosecutors said it lacked focus and urgency.

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.Judge Norton thanked the jury for their 10-week service and added: "Thank you to Kaden's mum and family, for all of the dignity they have shown in this case. We are all very sorry for what happened."The judge adjourned the case until a later date, where the two companies, both of which are in administration, will face sentencing alongside Stoneforce, which had previously admitted the charge of failure to discharge health and safety duty at Reading Crown Court.