Woman locked in nightclub falls 40ft trying to escape from window in St Austell

The woman fell from an upper floor window at The Club near the main entrance on Beech Road.

A woman was seriously injured after she was locked in a Cornish nightclub and fell 40 feet trying to escape from a window.

The Club in St Austell has been ordered to pay £30,499 following an investigation by Cornwall Council’s Health and Safety team.

The woman fell from an upper floor window onto the tarmac below after she was locked inside the building in February 2019.

The investigation found that the woman entered part of the building that was no longer in use, and made her way down to a fire exit that she discovered did not open.

Believing she had become trapped in a basement she activated the fire alarm call point.

Staff believed the alarm had been activated in a different part of the building and checked the wrong area - no further steps were taken and the alarm was silenced.

Final checks by staff before closing the building for the night also failed to find her and she remained locked inside the premises.

During the night, the woman found her way into the glass wash area where she climbed onto a sink and accessed the window.

After climbing through the window, she fell 40 feet to the yard below where she remained until she was found by a passer-by just after 7.30am.

The woman had sustained significant injuries as a result of the fall including complex pelvic fractures, fractured wrist, fractured sternum, collapsed lung and broken jaw.

She spent 15 days receiving treatment at the Major Trauma Unit at Derriford Hospital.

At a hearing held in Bodmin Magistrates’ Court on October 25, The Club in High Cross Street, pleaded guilty to two charges under Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The investigation by Cornwall Council revealed that safety systems at the time of the incident within The Club fell far below those which would be expected of such premises.

Following the fall, a complete review has been undertaken and the deficiencies remedied.

The Club was issued a fine of £9,380, a surcharge of £181 and ordered to pay costs of £20,938.

Councillor Martyn Alvey said: "This is a really awful case where a woman has suffered appalling injuries.

"Thankfully incidents like this are rare, but when businesses put people at risk by failing to adhere to health and safety regulations we will not hesitate to prosecute."