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Principal fined over teen’s fall from roof

Published 30/10/2010

A headteacher was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £22,000 in costs yesterday for failing to take reasonable care for the safety of his students after a pupil fell through a skylight.

John Summerfield had taken the group of “slightly inebriated” sixth-formers on to the roof of Sacred Heart Catholic College in Crosby, Merseyside, when Joel Murray, then 18, tumbled 8ft (2.4m) into a corridor and fractured his skull.

He also broke his ribs and suffered permanent eye damage, Liverpool Crown Court was told.

Summerfield was convicted last month of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Sentencing yesterday, Judge Nigel Gilmour QC said it was “an isolated incident in an otherwise distinguished career”.

The accident, in August 2008, happened during an evening party the school had thrown to celebrate the students' A-level results.

Summerfield (65) took the students on to the roof as he showed them the results of renovations to the building. A prosecutor said some of them were “possibly slightly inebriated”.

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