Pensioner fell to his death from Looe care home window
The owners of a care home where an elderly man fell from a window and died are facing a fine for breaching health and safety rules.
Husband and wife Michael and Sharon Cotton of Hillcrest House at Looe, admitted the failure which led to 89-year-old Reginald Gibbings' fall in July 2008.
Mr Gibbings, who had Alzheimer's, tumbled around 12ft on to sloping ground from a ground-floor bedroom occupied by a fellow resident.
A post-mortem showed he died two days later in hospital from heart failure due to a fractured femur and pelvis.
In July this year at Bodmin Magistrates Court the Cottons pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety rules.
Yesterday the couple attended Truro Crown Court for sentence in a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive.
The court heard before coming to live at the home on July 10, 2008, Mr Gibbings lived across the road with his wife. He fell from a window fitted with a restrictor, which allowed the window to be opened up to four inches with a slide bar using an allen key, the court heard.
The screw used to fix the restrictor in place was not fully tightened, allowing the window to open fully.
A health and safety report read out to the court said failing to use the key to secure the screw had the "advantage of allowing service-users and staff to open and close windows up to the limit of about four inches at will, without requiring the specialist allen key".
Kate Brunner, prosecuting, said: "It is agreed this restrictor would have been suitable if used correctly. It was used in a manner contrary to its design."
Ms Brunner said no procedure existed at the home to instruct staff how to set the restrictor.
Ian Dixey, defending on behalf of the Cottons, expressed sympathy to Mr Gibbings' son Michael, who sat in court.
"This is a very well-run home and this was a very much isolated incident and not a case of poor maintenance or not having thought about the problem," he said.
Judge Philip Wassall said he would reserve sentence until Monday and adjourned the case.