‘Faulty’ Woodford Green lift killed grandmother

A DAMAGED lift control unit was to blame for the death of grandmother Christine Allen, an inquest heard yesterday (Wednesday).

Mrs Allen died from multiple injuries after the lift in Lambourne Court, Navestock Crescent, Woodford Green accelerated upwards when she got in.

She became wedged between the bottom of the lift and lift shaft following a visit to daughter Laura Dawkins’ eighth floor flat on August 8 last year.

Lift examiner Dr Anthony Wray led an investigation into the cause of the accident and found that electrical components in the control unit were “severely eroded”.

He explained this prevented electrical current from getting to the brake pads, which hold the lift in place when stationary, and they had worn away.

The fault affected the lift’s balance which made it rise when Mrs Allen stepped in.

Dr Wray said: “The first thing I noticed was brake dust all over the motor because the pads were not releasing.

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“They had been sustained to friction and were not capable of holding the lift in place.”

He said the problem would have developed over a week and would not have been picked up by maintenance workers.

Police issued an appeal to all Lambourne Court residents asking them to come forward with complaints or concerns about the lift but no one said it moved without pressing a button.

Anne Okoisor from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) confirmed all lifts in the Orchard Estate had been fitted with safety devices which detect if they are still moving when the brakes are applied.

She said alerts will be sent to other tower block owners of the potential problem with the control unit.

HSE will also contact the manufacturer of the unit to see if they can recommend a time span of when the electrical components need to be replaced.