United Kingdom

Boy, 10, killed when 240lb sign fell on him in Topshop

The bereft mother of a 10-year-old boy killed in a Topshop store when a 240lb metal post toppled on to him faced company representatives in court today where the business is accused over his death.

Kaden Reddick died on February 13 2017 after the queue barrier fell on his head at the Oracle Shopping Centre in Reading where he had just watched the hit film Sing with his family at a neighbouring cinema.

The owners of Arcadia, Sir Philip Green's former retail empire, collapsed last year, selling its crown jewel Topshop to Asos for £330million and Debenhams went to Boohoo for £55million. 

Today the schoolboy's heartbroken mother Lisa Mallett, who had been at the store with her mother and two daughters when Kaden died, faced company representatives at Reading Crown Court.

More than four years after Kaden's death, the Arcadia Group Ltd, Realm Projects Ltd, Stoneforce Ltd and Topshop/Topman Ltd were all charged with health and safety offences in relation to the tragedy, principally through unsafe practices. 

Judge Heather Norton scheduled a provisional full trial date of January 10 2022 which was listed to last for 10 weeks. 

Kaden Reddick, 10, of Burghfield, Berkshire, died after being hit by a 3ft queue barrier inside a Topshop store in Reading in Topshop

Pictured: Police and paramedics at the scene of the Oracle shopping centre, in Reading, after 10-year-old Kaden was fatally injured by a queue barrier at Topshop inside in February 2017

Realm Projects was the manufacturer and Stoneforce was responsible for fitting the barrier in the store, the court heard today.

James Ageros QC, prosecuting, said: 'Kaden Reddick was killed when a barrier which he had been playing on fell on top of him causing fatal injuries.'

Following the tragedy, it was alleged that more than a dozen barriers in stores across the UK were either inadequately fastened or were not fixed at all to the floor. 

Today, Judge Norton ruled that a full day hearing would be needed to debate whether Reading Borough Council had the authority to prosecute offences that were 'not on its patch.' 

Kaden's family had been to see the film 'Sing' at the Vue cinema at the Oracle shopping centre before deciding to 'make a day of it' by going shopping, stopping first at Topshop (pictured)

In March last year, an inquest recorded his death as an accident, but revealed failings from staff over what was called a 'wobble test' of the barrier.

Staff across the country were told to test barriers after another incident in Glasgow where a 10-year-girl was seriously injured, just days before Kaden's death. 

In delivering the verdict at the inquest the jury foreman said 'evidence shows its fixings were inadequate to hold his weight'. 

However, the jury of eight men and three women decided that although the 180kg queue barrier was 'inadequately fastened,' Kaden's death was accidental. 

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