Firm fined after pensioner plunged to death down fire escape

The body of Frank Finnie, 80, lay undiscovered at the bottom of a stairwell at Aberdeen Market for two days.

A firm has been fined £80,000 over the death of a pensioner who plunged down a fire escape at Aberdeen Market.

The body of Frank Finnie, 80, lay undiscovered at the bottom of a stairwell for two days.

On Monday at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, operators The Market Village Company Ltd admitted failures which resulted in the pensioner’s death at the indoor market on June 7, 2018.

The company breached the fire safety act by failing to ensure the lighting within the escape stairwell was maintained.

Mr Finnie, who had dementia, sustained fatal injuries in the fall down the dark stairwell.

He was reported missing by care workers at his sheltered housing the following day.

His body was discovered by a police officer investigating his disappearance on June 9.

The circumstances surrounding the death were jointly investigated by Police Scotland and Aberdeen City Council.

The investigation found the company had failed to ensure a suitable system of maintenance was in place, and in particular failed to maintain the lighting within the south middle fire escape stairwell.

Following the £80,000 fine, Alistair Duncan, head of the Health and Safety Investigation Unit at the Crown Office, said: “This fatal incident was entirely foreseeable and could have been avoided had Market Village ensured that the lighting in the fire escape stairwell had been properly maintained 

“The family of Frank Finnie must live with the consequences of the company’s failings. 

“While Market Village has taken effective steps to remedy the deficiency in the maintenance of the fire escape stairwell, this conviction and sentence should serve as a reminder to other companies to adhere to the regulations and that failure to do so can have tragic consequences.”

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