A school has been made to pay out nearly £29,000 after a boy was crushed to death when a loose locker unit fell on top of him.

Leo Latifi suffered fatal injuries after climbing the unit with a friend at an after school swimming lesson on May 23, 2019.

The nine-year-old, who was visiting Great Baddow High School in Chelmsford, Essex, had almost reached the top when it started to topple from his weight.

His friend had time to leap out of the way but Leo, a Year Four pupil at St Michael’s Primary School, was already too high up the lockers - and was crushed underneath them.

Great Baddow High School was fined £16,700 over the incident at Chelmsford magistrates' court on Thursday and ordered to pay an additional £12,000 in costs.

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Great Baddow High School
Leo was visiting Great Baddow High School

It was said that the locker unit, in the swimming pool changing rooms, should have been fixed to the wall behind it - and that there were even holes in the wall to allow for this fixture.

But the Health and Safety Executive hearing was told that the lockers had been removed from the wall in the summer of 2013 by a contractor who was brought in to replace the carpeting in the changing rooms.

Great Baddow High School was not made aware that the removal of the lockers from the walls was necessary - or that they had not been re-attached.

District Judge John Woollard called it "the most tragic case I have seen in 23 years".

He said: "Leo and one of his friends were no doubt larking around, having a joke, having a good time - being boisterous and taking the kinds of risks nine-year-olds are likely to take.

"There was no appreciation on their part of the dangerous situation they were creating.

"In reality, the most important factor here is that the school have acknowledged in public their error.

"There is documentation that suggests that the school were not made aware that it was necessary for the contractors to remove the locker unit from the wall while recarpeting the floor.

Great Baddow High School
A judge described the case as "tragic"

"But over the following six years pupils and visitors were using those changing rooms, which had potentially lethal lockers in them.

"The school should have carried out risk assessments and refitted the lockers to the wall. They did not do so."

Speaking on behalf of Great Baddow High School, health and safety barrister Mark Watson QC pointed out the impact of the Covid pandemic on schools, and the current importance of investing in education.

And Judge Woollard added: "The school is essentially a small enterprise, and I have to sentence it on that basis."