Owners of Chigwell nursery, where a two-year-old was found hanging in a playhouse, fined £220,000
- Credit: Archant
Bosses at a Chigwell nursery where a toddler was found dead hanging from the roof of a playhouse, have been ordered to pay fines and costs of £220,000.
Two-year-old Rhiya Malin was found hanging in the roof of the wooden house after playing out in the garden at Eton Manor Nursery, Roding Lane, on November 7, 2007.
Owners of the nursery, Casterbridge Care and Education and Casterbridge Day Nurseries, both of Great Portland Street, London, who admitted a breach of health and safety rules, were jointly fined £150,000 with £70,000 costs on Friday at Chelmsford Crown Court.
Added to their own legal costs, the final bill is likely to be greater than £220,000.
Parents of Rhiya, Jay and Shatel Malin, of Chigwell, referring to the fines imposed by Judge Karren Walden-Smith, said: “We cannot complain about the judge’s decision today.”
Earlier this year, the court was told that at around the time of the tragedy, room manager, Kayley Murphy, 25, of Greenfields, Loughton, who was fined £2,400, had been seen chatting on her mobile phone.
Judge Walden-Smith said: “Rhiya Malin was very young and therefore highly vulnerable and the business was as a nursery where the care of children is paramount.
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“The companies failed in their core obligation and the breaches at the nursery were not a one-off.”
Murphy, who was the first to try and rusticate Rhiya, was found guilty of failing to take responsibility for people at work.
The judge said she was now working as a cleaner and in “dire financial circumstances” and may never be able to work with children again.
It is believed that Rhiya died from a heart attack after getting trapped on a scooter inside the playhouse.