Club owner narrowly avoids Jail

A manager of a private members club in Sunderland has been spared a jail sentence for a number of safety breaches.

The court heard there were two basements within the property which were filled with beds, stocks and “equipment of physical restraint”. The owner, Katherine High, admitted to the breaches receiving a sentence of six months imprisonment which was suspended for 12 months.

David Claxton, prosecuting, said that the safety breaches could have led to a substantial loss of life.

A fire service safety audit in 2015 found the front door and only escape route locked, with the key held by the club owner, and the back door roller shuttered. The court also heard that up to 60 people could be crammed into the property at any given time.

The solicitor who was defending, Duncan Emerson, said at a previous hearing, that his client deserved credit for pleading guilty at the earliest possible opportunity and cooperating fully with the investigation. He claimed that the reason for the property being found in such a bad state was due to it currently undergoing a refurbishment which was mandated by a council inspection since the initial rejection of the club’s licence was overturned on appeal.

Original source – Sunderland Echo