Hugo Boss to be sentenced after mirror crushed Crawley boy to death

Four year old Austen Harrison who died at Bicester Village retail outlet in June 2013 ENGSUS00120130717125114
Four year old Austen Harrison who died at Bicester Village retail outlet in June 2013 ENGSUS00120130717125114

Hugo Boss is due to be sentenced this afternoon (Thursday September 3) after admitting health and safety breaches that resulted in a four-year-old boy being crushed to death by a falling mirror.

The retailer could be fined more than £200,000 at Oxford Crown Court.

Austen Harrison, from Crawley, had been playing at the label’s store at the Bicester Village outlet while his father Simon tried on a suit when the large mirror came crashing down on him, causing serious injuries.

He suffered irreparable brain damage and his life support machine was turned off four days after tragic accident in 2013.

The clothing giant admitted two health and safety breaches at a hearing at Banbury Magistrates’ Court on June 2 for failing to secure the 18-stone mirror.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, defending, entered a guilty plea for the company to offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

However, Barry Berlin, prosecuting on behalf of Cherwell District Council, told the court that the label should be sentenced at the crown court because the maximum fine at magistrates’ court was only £20,000.

He suggested the case should be sentenced in the crown court where the recommended starting point of a £100,000 fine per offence could be imposed or even exceeded.

“Plainly this a very serious matter relating to a child aged four-and-a-half who on June 4 2013 was struck on the head by a seven feet tall, 18 stone free standing three-way mirror,” he added.

District Judge David Chinery said: “This is quite plainly an exceptionally sad case and one where I consider that the penalties available in this court are clearly not appropriate to a case of this magnitude.”

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