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Firm fined £150k over pool injury

A company has been fined £150,000 after a boy from the Black Country suffered a "catastrophic brain injury" after nearly drowning in a swimming pool.


Chad Mole, aged seven, was on holiday with his family at the Trecco Bay caravan park in Porthcawl, South Wales, when he wandered into the deep end of the Splashland pool.

Upper Bay Limited, which owns and operates the caravan park, was also ordered to pay £182,500 in costs.

It was found guilty by majority verdict last month of failing to ensure the youngster from Bath Meadow, Halesowen, was not exposed to risks to his health and safety.

The company had denied the offence over two trials at Cardiff Crown Court with the jury in the first one unable to reach a verdict.

Following the sentencing yesterday, a spokesman for Upper Bay said the firm intended to appeal against the conviction.

During the trial, Mr Ian Pringle, prosecuting, said Chad, had gone to the pool with his father, Brian, and his four-year-old brother, JJ on October 18, 2005.

Neither of the boys could swim, neither had buoyancy aids and there was a sign saying that children under eight should be accompanied by an adult.

Mr Pringle said while Mr Mole's attention was on his younger son, Chad wandered off.

"How long he wandered off for we cannot be precise - it was a matter of minutes not seconds - and it seems that he wandered off into the deep end of the pool."

He said Chad ended up in the bubble lounger area, a bubbly shelf around the edge of the deep end.

There were four lifeguards on duty, he said, but at the time no- one was specifically monitoring the bubble lounger.

He said one of the lifeguards, Jo Sperduty, stopped to speak to Chad on her way to monitor the flume and told him to return to his father.

"He made no reply. He was clearly under the age of eight. She didn't ask if he could swim or who he was with," Mr Pringle said.

"This was, we contend, a serious error because it seems, within a relatively short time, somehow Chad slipped from the shelf and went into the deep water."

Mr Pringle said the company failed to make proper plans for adequate safeguards to protect the public using the pool.

"The pool was not properly observed. There were not enough lifeguards there."

Defence barrister John Cooper asked the judge to take into account the company's good character and the experience of the "well-trained" lifeguards on duty on the day in question.

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