A care home and its former manager have appeared in court charged with health and safety offences following the murder of a teenage girl, eight years ago.
Melissa Mathieson, 18, was strangled by Jason Conroy at Alexandra House, which provides residential care for adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, in Bristol, in October 2014.
Conroy, then aged 19, was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum term of 19 years at Bristol Crown Court for the sexually motivated killing.
In September this year, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced it had charged Alexandra Homes (Bristol) Limited and former care home general manager Yvonne Hin following Miss Mathieson’s death.
The company, along with Hin, appeared before Bristol Magistrates’ Court today (October 5) to face two charges contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Hin and Alexandra Homes (Bristol) Limited are firstly charged with failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees at the care home, in Knowle, Bristol, from “potential assault from residents” between February 13 2014 and October 13 that year.
The second charge alleges that they failed to provide adult care services accommodation for residents in such a way as to ensure those affected, including Miss Mathieson, were not exposed to the “risks from assault by Jason Conroy” between the same dates.
Both Hin, 44, from Ilfracombe, Devon, and the company, of Kingswood, Bristol, pleaded not guilty to the two charges against them during the court hearing.
District Judge Lynne Matthews granted Hin unconditional bail and adjourned the case to Bristol Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing on October 31.
The judge told Hin: “I will now send your case to the crown court at Bristol.
“The first hearing will be on October 31. You are on unconditional bail until then.”
She said the company would also appear before the crown court on the same date.
Alan Fuller appeared for the prosecution during the hearing, while Peter Richardson represented Hin and Darren Burleigh represented Alexandra Homes (Bristol) Limited.
Three of the company’s directors – Joanne Burleigh, Maria Skuse and Michael McNamee – were present in court.
Lee Burleigh, the manager, was also at the hearing as a proxy for the company’s fourth director John Duggan, who the court heard is currently away.