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Norwich firm admits offences following death of woman who was crushed by gate

PUBLISHED: 06:47 29 January 2016 | UPDATED: 08:56 29 January 2016

A woman died after becoming trapped under a large metal gate in Blofield Heath.

Picture: James Bass

A woman died after becoming trapped under a large metal gate in Blofield Heath. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2013

A Norwich company has admitted three offences in relation to the death of a woman who was crushed by an automated electric gate.

Jill Lunn died in April 2013 when the gate fell on her at her home at Field Lane, Blofield Heath.

Automated Garage Doors and Gates Limited appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday where Philip Hackett QC, for the company, said it was pleading guilty to three counts of failing to comply with a requirement under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) regulations.

The first offence admitted by the Burnet Road company relates to placing machinery, namely an automated electric gate, which was unsafe at Mrs Lunn’s home between March 27 2012 and March 27 2013.

The other offences relate to failing to ensure the applicable health and safety requirements were satisfied for the machinery before it was put onto the market and into service and failing to follow the appropriate conformity assessment procedures for the machinery before it was put onto market and into service.

Following Mre Lunn’s death Robert Churchyard, 50, of Turner Road, Norwich, was charged with manslaughter and another offence of breaching his work duty by failing to take reasonable care of the health and safety of himself and other people.

He yesterday pleaded not guilty to both offences and will stand trial on August 1. Churchyard has been granted unconditional bail.

The company will be sentenced after the end of the trial.

Also appearing in court was Martyn Cook, 56, of Meadow Farm Lane, Horsham St Faiths.

He had been charged with three offences under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) regulations and entered not guilty pleas.

The prosecution said there was “insufficient evidence” and “offered “no evidence” on all three counts. Judge Stephen Holt ordered that not guilty verdicts be entered.

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