Crawley man was lying dead in Horsham leisure centre ‘all day’

Crawley man Victor Smith who died at a Horsham leisure centre, and wife Sharon
Crawley man Victor Smith who died at a Horsham leisure centre, and wife Sharon

A Crawley man was lying dead in a Horsham leisure centre’s shower cubicle ‘all day’ - according to his wife.

Victor Smith, 70, of Filbert Crescent, Gossops Green, died at the Pavilions in the Park in Hurst Road on Sunday April 12.

Crawley man Victor Smith, who died at the Pavilions in the Park leisure centre in Horsham in April 2015. Photo submitted by Sharon Smith

Crawley man Victor Smith, who died at the Pavilions in the Park leisure centre in Horsham in April 2015. Photo submitted by Sharon Smith

He arrived at the leisure centre for his usual swim at 9am, his wife Sharon said, and was expected to be home at 10.15am.

However, he suffered a heart attack and collapsed in a private shower cubicle, which was locked. He was found at around 7.30pm.

Sharon Smith said: “It was a relief in the end to find that he died of a massive heart attack so wasn’t lying on the floor for ten or 11 hours desperate for help.

“The Pavilions let him and his family down on the day.”

His family reported him missing at 12.45pm. A ‘you are missing, contact your family’ sticker was placed on Mr Smith’s car in the Pavilions’ car park, and police said a search of the building had been carried out.

Mrs Smith said police visited the family at 5.30pm. At 9.45pm, they were informed her husband died.

She said: “The changing room was never checked on these so-called building sweeps. Someone could have knocked on the door and realised there was no response, it is not rocket science.

“The paper (County Times) stated that from information given, the emergency services and Pavilions manager tried to revive the man.

“What rubbish - my husband had been lying there all day, clear I would have thought that he was unable to be resuscitated.”

A spokesman for Places for People Leisure said: “We are extremely saddened by the death of Mr Smith and we have shared our sincere condolences with his family.

“We have been in contact with Mrs Smith and family members throughout our investigation which is now nearing conclusion.

“Mr Smith was using a private disabled shower with the door locked. It is not unusual for this particular shower area to be in constant use and because it has a fully-fitted emergency alarm, we have a policy to respect people’s privacy and therefore not to enter when this is locked.

“In the light of what has happened we have reviewed our procedures and amended accordingly, including our CCTV policy to ensure that permissions are given to appropriate managers and that CCTV can be accessed in the interests of both safety and privacy.

“We have introduced further training to staff that includes additional monitoring of the private disabled showers to ensure the health and safety of our customers is balanced while respecting their privacy.”

A spokesperson for Horsham District Council said: “We were very sad to hear about the death of Victor Smith earlier this year.

“It was a tragic incident for Mrs Smith and her family and our thoughts continue to be with them.

“We liaised closely with Places for People, who run Pavilions in the Park on our behalf, to ensure that the appropriate steps were taken to investigate the circumstances of the incident and to satisfy ourselves and that procedures will be reviewed where necessary.

“We are satisfied that Places for People are carrying out a detailed health and safety review and they must be given time to conduct the review thoroughly so that lessons can be learnt. We will continue to work with them to ensure that any changes to procedures will be implemented.”

A post mortem revealed Mr Smith died from natural causes. There will be no inquest into his death.

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