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Fine for major designer brand after 18-stone mirror kills four-year-old boy

Sad: Austen Harrison died after suffering severe head injuries
Sad: Austen Harrison died after suffering severe head injuries

Designer brand Hugo Boss has been fined £1.2 million over the death of a four-year-old boy who was killed when an 18-stone mirror crushed him in a shop changing room.

Austen Harrison died after suffering severe head injuries when the 7ft mirror, which had been left standing free rather than being attached to a wall, toppled on to him at a Hugo Boss pop-up store in Bicester Village, Oxfordshire.

The youngster was left with irreversible brain damage after the huge mirror - described as being balanced upright like a "domino piece" - came down on top of him as he visited the store on June 4 2013 with his parents Simon and Irina Harrison.

Austen, from Crawley, West Sussex, died four days later at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital.

An inquest concluded the mirror should have been fixed to a reinforced wall, while coroner Darren Salter described the incident as "an accident waiting to happen".

Hugo Boss later admitted offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

At Oxford Crown Court Judge Peter Ross said "it would have been obvious to the untrained eye" that the mirror posed a risk, saying it was "nothing short of a miracle" that it had not fallen before.

There had been numerous "near misses" with mirrors at other stores across the country, the judge said, adding that Hugo Boss had a "corporate responsibility", and that he was sure that the health and safety breach went "to the very top of the company".

Following the sentencing Kerry Jack, a representative of Austen's mother - now Irina Glaser after she and Mr Harrison divorced - read a statement on her behalf.

She said: "I would like to thank the coroner, Judge Ross and Mr Hake of Hugo Boss for their sensitivity and genuine care.

"Austen's greatest pleasure in life was to help others.

"In his memory I invite you to help someone, no matter how small or large the deed, to assist Austen in creating a friendlier world.

"My love extends to each one of you for doing this."

The court heard that the mirror should have been fixed to a reinforced wall but was instead left standing freely, simply "balanced" on the floor.

Judge Ross said: "It would have been obvious to the untrained eye that the unsecured manner of a mirror of this size and weight represented an enormous risk to customers and staff alike."