Warwick Castle loses appeal over death fall fine

Warwick CastleWarwick Castle has failed to overturn a £350,000 fine issued following the death of an elderly man in 2007.

72-year-old George Townley fell from the castle’s Bear & Clarence Bridge, suffering fatal injuries.

Castle owners Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd were convicted of two offences under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act at Warwick Crown Court in April this year.

Including costs, the legal bill was close to £500,000 and Merlin solicitors argued in the Court of Appeal that the fine was disproportionate given the castle’s generally good safety record.

However, Lord Justice Gross rejected claims that the total fine and costs order was “manifestly excessive” and ruled that it was “within the appropriate range, albeit towards the top end of it”.

He said: “Notwithstanding the company’s generally good health and safety systems, its good record and the other mitigating features, it seems to us that the judge was entitled to conclude that the total fine had to be measured in hundreds of thousands of pounds,” he added.