News Blog‎ > ‎

23 May 2016 JTF warehouse to face manslaughter charges over 3 people who died of Legionnaires' disease

posted 25 May 2016, 01:17 by Ian Clarenbone

A company whose filthy hot tubs caused a fatal outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease will face manslaughter charges, it was revealed today.

Three people died and 18 more required hospital treatment when they were struck down with Legionella after visiting the DIY discount warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. Van driver Richard Griffin, 56, from Clayton, William Hammersley, 79, from Chesterton, and Harry Cadman, 71, from Stoke-on-Trent, died following the outbreak in the summer of 2012.

Last month a coroner criticised the Crown Prosecution Service and police for a delay of more than three years on deciding whether to prosecute the company or not.

A full inquest has never been held into their deaths because of the possibility of court action, leaving grieving relatives still awaiting answers. But at a pre-inquest review on Friday it was revealed corporate manslaughter charges will be brought in relation to the deaths of Mr Griffin and Mr Hammersley. The CPS says there is not enough evidence to bring the same charge in the case of Mr Cadman.

North Staffordshire coroner Ian Smith told the court: ‘While proceedings have not yet been formally issued they are about to be. These proceedings are against JTF for corporate manslaughter and some regulatory offences. I think it’s disgraceful the amount of time it has taken to bring this matter to this stage.’

Speaking at a previous hearing, the coroner criticised the CPS and said: ‘Families have been kept waiting, as have potential defendants. Lives have been put on hold - waiting and waiting. To say I am not pleased is an understatement. I think it’s disgraceful the amount of time it has taken to bring this matter to this stage.’

Another hearing will be held at North Staffordshire Coroner’s Court on September 16.

Last year, the victims’ families received more than £200,000 in damages, with the firm having already handed out a total of £100,000 to 13 survivors.