Stonegate pleads not guilty to health and safety charges brought after student death

20 April 2022 by
Stonegate pleads not guilty to health and safety charges brought after student death

Stonegate Pub Company has pleaded not guilty to four health and safety charges brought by Durham County Council following the death of Olivia Burt on 7 February 2018.

Burt, a 20-year-old first-year university student studying natural sciences, was killed after a metal barrier collapsed while she and her friends queued outside Missoula Nightclub in Durham city centre. Missoula is owned by Stonegate Pub Company, the largest pub owning company in the UK.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) previously investigated charges of gross negligence and corporate manslaughter but found there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction in February 2020.

Durham County Council subsequently brought health and safety charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 against Stonegate Pub in February 2022. The hearing yesterday at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court in County Durham was the first after charges were brought against the company.

Olivia's parents, Nigel and Paula Burt, said: "We are disappointed that four years on we are still no closer to a conclusion after Olivia's death. This only serves to prolong our search for justice for our wonderful daughter. We can only continue to wait for the trial and for the final outcome of the health and safety prosecution. To us it is incomprehensible how our only child died on a night out with friends."

Nigel and Paula Burt are represented by Anna Thwaites, partner at Bindmans.

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