New Corporate Manslaughter Sentencing Guidelines applied in care home case

Publication February 23, 2016

On 5 February 2016, Sherwood Rise Limited, a care home company, was fined £300,000 after pleading guilty to corporate manslaughter at Nottingham Crown Court in respect of the death of Ivy Atkin on 22 November 2012. Ms Atkin (86) died at the Autumn Grange Residential Home in Nottingham. The court found that the care home had failed to provide adequate personal care, nutrition, accommodation and support, ultimately resulting in Ms Atkin's death. This is the first corporate manslaughter conviction against a care home.

In handing down the fine, the new Sentencing Guidelines, which came into force on 1 February 2016, appear to have been applied by the court. The £300,000 fine falls within the fine range set out in the Guidelines for micro organisations (that is those organisations whose turnover is less than £2 million per annum). The fine was imposed despite the fact that the company was no longer operating at the time of sentencing.

Two directors also received sentences: the managing director, who was in charge of the day-to-day operation of Autumn Grange, was sentenced to three years and two months imprisonment after pleading guilty to gross negligence manslaughter and a second director was sentenced to one year imprisonment suspended for two years for breaches of sections 3 and 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Both directors have also been banned from holding directorships for 8 and 5 years respectively.

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