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Last Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
Boy tumbled 'like fall from sofa'
Hillgrove School
Kian Williams had been at Hillgrove School for two terms
A three-year-old pupil who died a month after hitting his head at a private school in Bangor fell 22.5 inches (57.2cm), a court has heard.

Kian Williams died in hospital in August 2004 after being hurt jumping on steps at Hillgrove School in Gwynedd.

Head teacher James Porter, 66, denies breaching health and safety laws.

A health and safety expert told Mold Crown Court the boy's fall was like "falling from the arm of a domestic settee". The case continues.

The jury had previously heard Kian, from Bethesda, was pretending to be Batman and was unsupervised in the playground when he was hurt jumping from the brick steps in July 2004.

The court was also told Kian died in Alder Hey Children's Hospital the following month from an MRSA type of pneumonia which was resistant to antibiotics.

Kian Williams
Kian Williams, aged three, died in hospital after the fall

On Friday, Martin Barnard, who was a principal inspector for the Health and Safety Executive for 13 years, told the jury that, in his opinion, the steps where the fall happened "would conform with health and safety requirements".

The court heard Mr Barnard read from his report commissioned by the defence team and say that he would not have recommended that gates be placed at the steps or the area be fenced.

"Having been to the school, in my opinion there was no significant risk which required the areas to be out of bounds because they were not unsafe or dangerous," he said.

"If I had been the health and safety inspector who made the visit, I wouldn't have considered enforcement action or remedial measures were needed."

Mr Barnard also told the court that, if the steps did fall foul of health and safety legislation "then many locations are in daily breach because a child could jump or fall from them".

'Harder'

Hillgrove teacher Melanie Jones, also gave evidence to the court, saying that watching children during playtime was now harder because of safety measures taken after the accident.

"In a peculiar way, the gating and fencing off have made the playground slightly more difficult to monitor," she said.

"The rail on top of the wall has made it harder to look over so has made it a lot more difficult to monitor."

On Thursday, head teacher Mr Porter told the court that Kian would have known he was in an out of bounds area because all of the school's 150 pupils knew where the boundaries were.

Defence barrister Patrick Harrington QC also told the court that Hillgrove School had an impressive health and safety record and between the years 2001 to 2004, when there were only 87 recorded accidents.




SEE ALSO
Head: "Fall pupil out of bounds"
26 Jul 07 |  North West Wales
Fall school safety record 'good'
25 Jul 07 |  North West Wales
MRSA 'killed boy, 3, after fall'
24 Jul 07 |  North West Wales
Head accused after death of pupil
23 Jul 07 |  North West Wales

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