The family of a supermarket supervisor who died after tackling a shoplifter has agreed an out-of-court settlement with Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc.
Grandmother Maureen Marsh, 56, suffered a ruptured aneurysm after attempting to apprehend a thief as he tried to escape with razor blades from the Morrisons supermarket on Baxters Lane, St. Helens in 2009.
Drug user Stephen Brighouse was found guilty of theft after a trial at Liverpool Crown Court in 2010, but the jury could not agree on a verdict for charges of unlawful killing or assault.
Maureen’s family launched a civil action against Morrisons claiming the firm instructed staff to apprehend shop lifters without adequate training.
Despite initially denying the claims the supermarket giant has now, just three weeks before the case was due for trial at Liverpool County Court; agreed an undisclosed out-of-court compensation settlement with the family.
Maureen’s son Lee Marsh, 30, said, “It has been a very difficult time for me and my family. We were devastated by the Crown Court verdict as we had hoped the sentence would be much lengthier.
“However we were determined not to let my mother’s death be in vain and decided to take legal action against her employer because we were very unhappy with Morrisons and its refusal to accept any responsibility.
“For us this was never about the money, we believed my mother was doing a job she should not have been doing and was not trained for, so after four and a half years I am glad Morrisons have finally accepted the merits of our argument.”
Slater and Gordon Personal Injury Lawyer Martyn Hughes, who is representing Mrs Marsh, welcomed the settlement by Morrisons. He said, “Employers in this country have a duty of care to ensure that their employees are kept reasonably safe at work, but it was our argument that Morrisons had failed Mrs Marsh in this respect.
“We uncovered evidence that on a fairly regular basis employees had apprehended shoplifters who were often unpredictable, aggressive and even violent without receiving adequate training. Some staff had been threatened. Sadly the incident involving Mrs Marsh was an accident waiting to happen.”
Mr Hughes added, “I hope lessons will now be learned by Morrisons and the settlement will allow some closure for the family of a well loved wife, mother and grandmother."
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