Care home ordered to pay £145,000 over ‘hot bath death’

A care home firm was ordered to pay £145,000 today after a disabled teenager was fatally scalded in a bath. Paraplegic Yelena Hasselberg-Langley, 18, suffered ”excruciating agony” after being lowered into the hot water at a supported living centre in Owens Way, Oxford.

Lifeways Community Care, based in London, which runs the home, admitted health and safety breaches at a hearing last year.

The company was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £45,000 costs plus £15 victim surcharge at Oxford Crown Court.

Sentencing, Judge Patrick Eccles QC said: ”The case evokes a great deal of pity for her suffering and a sense of outrage that her ensuing scalding injury and death could have been easily avoided.

”She was blind, paraplegic, epileptic and severely disabled. She had some power of speech but couldn’t clearly communicate her distress when placed in the bath and she would have suffered excruciating agony before being taken to hospital.”

After the incident, Yelena was taken to the city’s John Radcliffe Hospital before being transferred to a specialist burns unit in East Grinstead.

The hot water left her so badly injured that she died there on August 31 2007, four days after the accident.

The Health and Safety Executive, which prosecuted the company, said the water was ”excessively hot” at more than 44C (111.2F).