You may recall a national story regarding a viewing which went horribly wrong when a lady fell into a well within the properties garden. The local estate agent, Strakers (Holdings) Ltd was showing the house to Mr and Mrs Driver and they were told to look around the grounds on arrival.
In the garden Mrs Driver stepped on a wooden board unaware that it was covering a deep well within the property, the board then gave way. The board gave way and she plunged 30 feet into water below, initially being submerged in water before neighbours found a hosepipe which she managed to secure around her waist.
It was an hour before the emergency services managed to effect a rescue and she was let with head injuries, concussion and post traumatic stress disorder.
It was found in court that viewers were not warned of the presence of the well and a previous buyer had lifted the board and discovered the presence of the well. An employee of the defendant had then visited the property and noted the wooden board but had assumed that a metal grill would had been beneath it but, crucially, had not checked this to be the case, in spite of the condition of the board which looked unsupportive.
Strakers (Holdings) Limited pleaded guilty to breaching s.3 (1)Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £200,000 plus costs of £2,474. The size of the fine reflected the fact that the accident could have been fatal and that a number of staff and visitors had been put at risk.