Page last updated at 14:21 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Lift company pleads guilty over City banker's gym death

Katarzyna Woja
Katarzyna Woja became trapped between the lift and the shaft

A lift company has admitted breaching health and safety laws after a banker was crushed to death.

Polish-born Katarzyna Woja, 32, was killed as she stepped out of a lift at Broadgate Health Club in the City of London on 12 March 2003.

She was dragged between a wall and the lift when it suddenly fell a few feet and stopped between two floor levels.

Her widower Nebojsa Dorontic, 39, said ThyssenKrupp Elevator UK's guilty plea had "robbed" the family of justice.

At what would have been the first day of its trial at Southwark Crown Court in south London, the company admitted one charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act of failing to ensure people not in its employment were not exposed to safety risks.

Its failures included not maintaining the lift properly in accordance with its contractual obligations and failing to investigate adequately the cause of previous sudden failures, the court heard.

She went to work that morning as usual but by lunchtime my life had been ripped apart
Nebojsa Dorontic

The firm will be sentenced on 14 May, along with gym company Holmes Place Health Clubs which has already admitted three charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Virgin Active, which acquired Holmes Place in 2006, has described the death of Ms Woja as "an appalling and tragic accident".

Mr Dorontic said outside the court: "The family will probably never know what exactly happened.

"This is a very bitter pill to swallow. So that is why we feel we have been robbed of justice.

"By not having a full trial, the remaining members of Katarzyna's family and I may never know why she died and that is the least we deserve after all this time.

"After seven long years, the companies involved have walked away determined that they will never have to explain why simple maintenance was not carried out that would have saved my wife's life."

He added: "My wife was a charming and intelligent woman with whom I was very much in love.

"She went to work that morning as usual but by lunchtime my life had been ripped apart."

Print Sponsor

Guilty plea over gym lift death
16 Dec 09 |  London
Woman killed as lift falls
12 Mar 03 |  England

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