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Gala Bingo Battering for Pensioner

  • 31 Jan 13
  • Written by Deena Chance

altA visitor to Gala Bingo in Erdington, Birmingham, was recently left celebrating his luck after an encounter at the club. However, Kenneth Compton, aged 80, was not rejoicing in a massive jackpot win or even a Full House, but the fact that he escaped death’s door when his car was crushed by a barrier in the club’s car-park. The car-park’s exit is barrier-operated, and as Mr. Compton drove his vehicle through it, the barrier (weighing a quarter of a tonne) came crashing down on top of him. His car was hit with such force across the bonnet, that the front of the vehicle was completely crushed, the roof bent out of shape, and the windscreen shattered.

By some incredible miracle, the pensioner managed to extract himself from the wreckage, although he was later admitted to hospital where he was treated for a fractured eye socket and a head injury.

On investigation, it was ascertained that Gala Bingo had failed to secure the barrier with a padlock – causing it to fall onto Mr. Compton’s car. Health and safety investigators say that locks had been used in the past, but due to probable corrosion or fatigue had been removed prior to the accident.

Despite the incident occurring on 3rd June 2011, it was only in late January 2013 that the case appeared before Birmingham Magistrates Court, where it was ruled that Gala Leisure Limited must pay £25,000 for breaching two health and safety regulations. The court was told that the company had failed to include the car-park barriers in their risk assessments. Gala were also made to pay over £2,500 in costs after they pled guilty to committing offences under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, and the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Mr. Compton, who lives in the Great Barr area, says he has suffered from dizzy spells ever since the accident and, although admitting it was “absolutely terrifying” at the time, he now wants to “move on,” and “forget all about it.” His wife, Ada, says she was horrified when she first saw the pictures of the crushed car, and says Kenneth is “very lucky to be alive.”

Barbara Dring, who is a local councillor, as well as the chair of the city council’s public protection and licensing committee, hopes that companies who utilise security barriers will learn a serious lesson from this case.

A spokesperson for the popular bingo brand says that the company fully accepts their fine.


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