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York College has been found guilty of a health and safety offence at the court case over the death of three-year-old Lydia Bishop in 2012.
The offence was in connection with the College’s nursery, where Lydia died after becoming entangled in a rope whilst playing outside on her first full day attending York College Nursery.
Nursery worker Sophie Redhead, who was accused of manslaughter by gross negligence and of failing to take ‘reasonable care’ of the child under health and safety legislation, was acquitted of both charges.
During the trial the court heard Miss Bishop was left for 20 minutes before being discovered on an outdoor slide with a rope, which was meant to have been taken down, entangled around her neck.
The court heard that children at York College Nursery had two accidents a few months before, on the rope attached to the same slide, which caused Lydia's death.
Rules posted on the nursery walls said no children should be allowed to play on the slide without an adult supervising and the rope should be put away when staff were not there.
The court also heard that Lydia was alone and under no supervision when she got her neck caught in the slide.
York College closed the nursery in September 2012 after Lydia died and has said it will not re-open.
In a statement following the college’s guilty verdict, Alison Birkinshaw, principal and chief executive, York College said: “This has been an extremely difficult period for all involved and we remain devastated by the awful events of 17th September 2012. We deeply regret what happened and can’t begin to imagine the pain experienced by Lydia’s family and everyone affected by this terrible tragedy. They remain constantly in our thoughts.
“The Governing Body and all at York College respect fully the legal judgements made in this case and remain committed to learning from this tragedy. The College took the decision to close the Nursery immediately after the tragedy, and it will not reopen.”
York College will be sentenced by the trial’s judge, Mr Justice Coulson, this week.