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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 August, 2003, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Legionnaires' charges may follow
Forum 28 in Barrow
The outbreak was traced to the Forum 28 complex
A decision is expected soon on whether corporate manslaughter charges will follow the Cumbria legionnaires' disease outbreak, which claimed at least five lives.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is considering a file from Cumbria Police, a year after the August 2002 outbreak in Barrow.

The outbreak claimed five lives directly, and an inquest will decide if two further deaths were as a result of the disease.

More than 140 people were infected during the outbreak, which was traced to a 30-year-old air conditioning plant at Barrow's Forum 28 arts complex.

Lawyers for people claiming damages from Barrow council say there is still a chance their cases could go to court.

Even though some solicitors in the town have settled claims and say the council's insurers acted "responsibly" in paying out, Manchester-based legal firm Pannone has advised its clients to ask for more money.

Partner Deborah Wolfson said people are still suffering because there hasn't been a mass settlement.

Police inquiry

She said: "Despite Barrow council admitting liability, the way it's been handled means that 12 months on we are still waiting.

"I would have hoped there would have been reasonable offers and those people involved could have been in a position to put things behind them."

Detective Chief Inspector Keith Churchman of Cumbria Police, who has led the police inquiry into the outbreak, says officers have now completed gathering evidence.

He said a file has been handed to the Crown Prosecution Service, which will decide whether to go ahead with corporate manslaughter charges.

He said: "We have gathered huge amounts of evidence over the last year and we are satisfied we have a clear picture of what happened."

But in Barrow itself there is still resentment over claims the council did not act quickly enough.

Reverend Carol Farrer from the town's St Luke's Church, says relatives of those who died have found the loss difficult to cope with.

Legionnaires' death toll may rise
03 Jan 03  |  England
Legionnaires' bug found at factory
02 Sep 02  |  England

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