THE owners of an Upton hotel have been fined £34,000 and order to pay £49,000 in costs after a man died falling from one of the building’s windows.

Jon and Chris Lear pleaded guilty on behalf of the partnership running the White Lion Hotel in Upton-upon-Severn at Worcester Crown Court on Friday (February 9).

Christopher James had been attending a wedding but was found shortly after 4am lying on the pavement beneath the sash window of his room on the second floor of the High Street hotel.

The exact circumstances in which he fell are not known but the window did not have restrictors in place preventing it from being fully opened.

Worcestershire Regulatory Services on behalf of Malvern Hills District Council decided to prosecute following the death of Mr James in July 2015.

The court heard how the hotel had carried out a risk assessment in 2013 but had not specifically recognised the risk of falls from windows, particularly from the older style ones which were lower in height.

Some rooms with more modern windows had been fitted with restrictors which it was argued was evidence the owners were aware of the risk of falls and should have taken measures to secure the old style windows.

In mitigation, the court heard the owners had no previous convictions and no incidents of failure.

It was acknowledged the hotel was well run and the owners were conscientious in their approach to health and safety issues.

It was also accepted that industry standards and guidance from the Health and Safety Executive regarding the risk of falls from windows was unclear.

All windows have now been fitted with restrictors and the council has no issue with the measures now in place.

In sentencing, His Honour Judge Cole said: “I take the view the prosecution were correct in describing the failure to include in a risk assessment any mention of falls from windows as a glaring omission.

"Had the question of the windows in the upper bedrooms been considered this would have been considered as an obvious risk and steps put in place."

In a statement, Mr James’ wife told the court her husband’s death had devastated her and the couple’s two children.

A spokesman for the hotel said: "The White Lion Hotel has always taken it's health and safety responsibilities seriously and continues to do so. 

"This was a tragic incident and we wish to again express our condolences to the family and friends of Mr James."

Cllr Bronwen Behan, responsible for Worcestershire Regulatory Services on Malvern Hills District Council, said: “This is a very tragic case and our thoughts are with the family of Mr James.

"It highlights the importance to all businesses of ensuring their risk assessments are thorough.”