Falling Topshop barrier kills a 10-year-old boy ‘just six days after a girl was injured in another store’

Kaden Reddick, 10, was killed by the same type of barrier that fell on a girl at a Topshop store in Glasgow just six days before, leaving her with a skull fracture, a jury heard

Kaden Reddick, 10, died after a Topshop barrier fell on him

A schoolgirl was seriously injured by a Topshop barrier a few days before a 10-year-old boy was killed by someone in another store, a jury heard.

Kaden Reddick was hit by the same type of barrier that fell on a girl at a Topshop store in Glasgow on February 7, 2017, prosecutors said.

Little Kaden died after one 110 kg queue barrier collapsed over him in Topshop in Oracle, Reading, Berks, on February 13, 2017.

Today, Sir Philip Green’s former Arcadia Group, which owned the Topshop stores when Kaden was killed, went to court accused of health and safety failures.

The suppliers of the controversial barrier and the store residents were also charged in the case with the same errors.

Prosecutor James Agero’s QC told the jury that the schoolgirl’s skull fracture in Glasgow should have been a grim warning to the companies involved, but the investigation was not rushed until Kaden was killed as the barrier fell on his head.







The topshop store at Oracle in Reading, where the fatal incident took place
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Picture:

INS News Agency Ltd)

The boy had just finished watching a movie in a nearby cinema on a family outing at the time of the tragedy.

Ageros said the well-known fashion retailer Topshop, which had around 2,150 stores globally at the time, its parent company Arcadia Group and barrier manufacturers Realm Projects, was to blame for the 3-foot-high and 6-foot-wide barrier that landed on Kaden’s head.

Barrier fitters, Stoneforce, have already admitted the health and safety charges.

The jury sitting in Reading Crown Court was told how each of the three accused companies – Topshop, Arcadia and Realm Projects Ltd. – was to blame for the tragedy, but had denied the charges.







Kaden had just finished watching a movie in a nearby cinema when he was hit by the barrier
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Picture:

INS News Agency Ltd)







The barrier hit Kaden’s forehead as it fell into the clothing store
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Picture:

INS News Agency Ltd)

The prosecutor said at the opening of the two-month trial: “The cadet Reddick was killed when a barrier barrier overturned and hit his forehead as he balanced on top of it.

“At the top of the barrier were baskets that encouraged customers to impulse buy. These were items that were attractive to children. Kaden and his younger sister walked close to the barriers and were interested in what was in the baskets.

Showing the jury’s photographs, he continued: “In the pictures you can see the plinth where the outer barrier was attached with only two screws – more suitable for hanging pictures on a wall, not holding a heavy object up. It was only these two screws that held the barrier to the floor.

At no point in that process did anyone calculate what loads it would have to withstand in a busy shopping environment and to keep it safe on the floor.

“It was not just limited to the Reading store – the event barrier was not a one-off barrier. Another barrier in the same store was completely unstable and could have been overturned in the same way at any time.

“Other barriers in other Topman and Topshop stores were unstable and also posed a risk of collapse. Six days before Kaden’s death, a similar barrier, this time completely unfixed, overturned in a store in Glasgow and a child was seriously injured. including a skull fracture.

“The prosecution says the investigation into that incident did not have the necessary focus or urgency, especially when the problem was not only with unsecured barriers but also screwed down, as in Reading.

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“While Stoneforce (the fitters) failed to correct the barriers properly, the prosecution is that its faults are not the only ones in this case. That is why charges have been brought against these three other companies.

“Arcadia simply did not perform at the right level in relation to contractors. It did not ensure that tests were performed around the stability of the barrier. It just was not designed in accordance with the right standards.

“Realm (the manufacturers) should have considered what fasteners were needed to keep the barrier safe in a busy retail store. They provided no information at all to keep these barriers stable in the store,” the prosecutor added, claiming this was a breach of duty.

Topshop, Arcadia and Realm Projects Ltd are all accused of failing to comply with health and safety obligations, as they have not ensured that the design, manufacture and maintenance of the barrier did not pose a risk to the health and safety of a person not employed by them under the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974.

All three companies deny the allegations. Stoneforce Ltd, the company that installed the barriers in the store, had previously admitted the health and safety charges against them, the jury was told today.

If convicted, Arcadia and Topshop, which crashed into the administration in November 2020, could risk huge fines.

The trial, led by Judge Heather Norton, continues.

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