The jury heard today that the child was injured by a falling display at the Topshop store in Glasgow just six days before a 10-year-old child was killed by the same type of barrier at the Reading branch.
Sir Philip Green’s now-disbanded Arcadia Group, which owned Topshop when Kaden Reddick was killed, was charged in court with health and safety errors, as were barrier suppliers and installers who installed it.
Prosecutor James Ageros QC told the jury that the fracture of the schoolgirl’s skull in Glasgow was supposed to be a warning to the companies involved, but the investigation was not imposed on urgency.
Kaden was killed after a 17-stone barrier lined up on his head on February 13, 2017 at the Topshop store in Oracle, Reading. The boy has just finished watching a movie at a nearby cinema on a family trip during the tragedy.
In another incident 18 months before the tragedy, another customer in a store in Manchester was crushed.
The jury was shown e-mails between designers and engineers who expressed concerns about the safety of the barrier’s construction – but no prototypes were ever made.
Sir Philip Green’s now-defunct Arcadia Group, which owned the Topshop chain when Kaden Reddick was killed (pictured)
Mr Ageros said Topshop, which at the time had around 2,150 stores around the world, its parent company Arcadia Group and barrier maker Realm Projects Ltd, was guilty of landing a 3-foot-high and 6-foot-wide barrier on Kaden’s head.
Barrier installers, Stoneforce, have already admitted the health and safety allegations, but Topshop, Arcadia and Realm Projects Ltd have denied the allegations against them.
At the start of the two-month trial, the plaintiff said: “Kaden Reddick was killed when a barrier in the front was overturned and hit him in the head while he was balancing on it.
“At the top of the barrier were baskets that encouraged shoppers to make impulsive purchases. They were objects attractive to children. Kaden and his younger sister went close to the barriers and were interested in what was in the baskets.
He continued, showing the jury’s photographs: It was only these two screws that held the barrier to the floor.
“At no point during this process did anyone anticipate the load they would have to withstand in a busy shopping environment and keep it safe on the floor.”
The lawyer said health and safety issues were “not unique.”
He continued: “Other barriers in other Topman and Topshop stores were unstable and also posed a risk of collapse.
“Six days before Kaden died, a similar barrier, this time completely unrepaired, overturned in a store in Glasgow and the child suffered serious injuries, including a broken skull.
“While Stoneforce (fitters) have failed to properly secure the barriers, the prosecution is such that its failures are not the only ones in this case. Therefore, charges were filed against these other three companies.
Kaden was killed after a 17-stone barrier landed on his head on February 13, 2017 at the Topshop store in Oracle, Reading.
“Arcadia simply did not apply the right level to suppliers. It did not ensure that barrier stability tests were performed. It just wasn’t designed to the right standards.
“Realm (manufacturers) should have considered what fasteners are needed to secure the barrier in a busy store. They did not provide any information at all in order for these barriers to be stable in the store, “the plaintiff added, adding that this was a breach of duty.
The plaintiff went into further detail about how a similar incident in which he crushed a customer’s leg took place in Manchester 18 months before Kaden’s death.
He added: “On April 2, 2015, there was a similar barrier at Manchester Trafford Center Topshop. This also fell and was not repaired. This caused serious injury to the shopper’s leg. What the prosecution says, it is clear that the consequences could have been much more serious.
“No security investigations have been carried out in other stores. If this action (opening of the investigation) was taken with the incident in Glasgow, why not with Trafford in 2015? That was to alert Arcadia.
“After that moment, they were supposed to investigate all the obstacles.” It was too little, too late. “
The jury was told that Arcadia’s safety and health manager Wesley Cox immediately traveled to the store to investigate the collapse of the Glasgow barrier, and a decision was made to ask all Topshop stores about their barriers.
The prosecutor also showed the jury the designs of the barrier that was installed during the redevelopment of the store in 2013-2014, and described in detail how the original design, using metal columnar structures under the heavy surface of Corian, was replaced by wooden-MDF structures.
The jury was shown how e-mails between designers and engineers expressed concerns about the safety of the barrier’s construction. Adjustments were made, but no prototypes were ever made.
CCTV footage of moments before Kaden was killed by the barrier, showing how he wobbled her before he swayed beneath her and pulled the furniture over his head.
A coroner from Berkshire had previously confirmed that Kaden had died of a traumatic head injury. The video was cut before his body touched the ground.
At the time of the tragedy, the boy had just finished watching a film at a nearby cinema on a family trip
Mr Ageros said: “Due attention has not been paid to the forces and constraints on barriers in daily use. Arcadia never checked the condition of the barriers other than because of their appearance. No inspections took place during this three-year period. “
The jury was also shown several CCTV clips from the Reading Topshop, where customers accidentally swayed the barrier, as well as children swinging between the barriers. He claimed that Arcadia should have taken note of these incidents in the days before the tragedy.
Topshop, Arcadia and Realm Projects Ltd are all accused of failing to comply with their health and safety obligations because they did not 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. at work in 1974.
All three companies deny the charges. Stoneforce Ltd, the company that installed the barriers in the store, has previously admitted health and safety allegations against them, the jury heard today.
In the event of a conviction, Arcadia and Topshop, which entered administration in November 2020, could face huge fines after employees failed a barrier test, despite another incident with a barrier at a store in Glasgow.
The trial, presided over by Judge Heather Norton, continues.