Warwick Castle fined £350,000 after tourist dies in fall from bridge

Warwick Castle fined £350,000 after tourist dies in fall from attractionStock photo: PA

Warwick Castle has been fined £350,000 after a grandfather died when he fell off a bridge and into a moat.

George Townley, 72, had been enjoying a visit to the tourist attraction when he fell 14ft as he was crossing a 45ft long bridge.

He plunged into a dry moat and suffered fatal head injuries, dying in Warwick Hospital the next morning, according to the Coventry Telegraph.

The company that runs the tourist site, Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd, which owns a host of attractions across the UK, including Alton Towers, had pleaded not guilty to two charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

But this week a crown court in Leamington found the company guilty on both counts.

As well as the £350,000 fine, Merlin was also ordered to pay the £145,000 legal costs for Warwick District Council.

Rob Chapleo, an environmental health officer with the council, told the Daily Telepgraph after the verdict: "Merlin Attractions Operations Limited were made aware that there was a risk of falling from the bridge on two separate occasions before the fatal accident.

"Mr Townley's fatal accident was foreseeable and would not have occurred if Merlin had undertaken a 'suitable and sufficient' risk assessment which, in the council's view, would have identified the need to provide barriers to the sides of the bridge."

A spokesman for Warwick Castle told the paper they were '"very disappointed" with the verdict adding: "The bridge from which Mr Townley fell has formed one of the entrances to Warwick Castle for at least 200 years.

"Since 1978 more than 20 million people have visited the Castle and many will have crossed this bridge at least once during their visit, without a single reported accident, near miss or complaint of any nature."

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