Thu, 17 Sept 2020
Charges have been laid against four companies following the death of a West Berkshire schoolboy at Reading's Oracle shopping centre.
Kaden Reddick, from Burghfield, died from traumatic brain injuries when a queue barrier fell on him at the Topshop store on February 13, 2017.
An inquest held in March this year ruled that the 10-year-old's death was accidental.
The inquest had heard that Kaden, who attended Garland Junior School, had been swinging on the one metre high, 110kg queue divider, holding on with both hands with his feet off the ground.
The jury also heard that the same barrier had been seen to wobble in the days before his death.
Reading Borough Council has investigated health and safety matters surrounding the death since February 2017.
The council has now laid charges against Topshop, the retail owner Arcadia, fitter of the barrier Stoneforce, and barrier manufacturer Realm, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
A council spokesman said: “The laying of these charges follows the coroner’s conclusion in March this year that the tragic death of Kaden Reddick in February 2017 was accidental, arising from an inadequately fixed barrier causing a traumatic head injury.
“The charges mean the council can make no further comment on the case at this time. Our thoughts remain with the family and we kindly ask that everyone continues to respect their privacy.”
The charges follow the Crown Prosecution Service ruling out corporate manslaughter charges as there was "not a realistic prospect" of a conviction.
The inquest heard that the MDF (medium-density fibreboard) till divider, described as goal-post shaped with a marble-like finish, was filled with sweets and other items.
The barriers were screwed into the floor but staff and CCTV said they were seen moving in the days before Kaden died. Kaden was 4ft 11in and weighed 6st 9lb.
Paying tribute at the inquest, Kaden's mother Lisa Mallet said he was "extremely caring, generous and loved helping people.
"He was a lovely little boy who would never hurt anyone. His death has left a massive hole in our lives," she said.