The Catholic Church is facing a hefty fine after a 94-year-old man with dementia died after falling from a window at a city care home.
Peter Connor plunged from his second-floor bedroom at the Wellburn Care Home on Liff Road on May 30 2017.
Mr Connor had only been at the home for two weeks prior to his death with a court hearing that his window was unrestricted.
Today, the Diocese of Dunkeld, which ran the home, pleaded guilty at Dundee Sheriff Court to being criminally responsible for Mr Connor’s death.
A sheriff continued the case until later this month in order to determine the sentence against the diocese.
The court heard how mystery still surrounds the circumstances of Mr Connor’s death.
A post-mortem examination found Mr Connor died of multiple injuries, blunt force trauma and a fall from a height.
Fiscal depute William Duffy said: “A carer checked on Mr Connor at around midnight, 2am and 4am.
“The next check was due for 6am, however, the nurse was dealing with a resident suffering from incontinence. At 6.40am, a staff nurse in an office on the first floor looked out her window and saw what appeared to be a pair of pyjamas lying on the ground.
“Upon looking up, she noted his window was open. Two members of staff saw him lying face down on the concrete path.”
Mr Duffy added: “There was a distance of 8.3 metres from the window ledge to the ground. “Emergency services were called and CPR was commenced. Paramedics attended and pronounced life extinct at 7.02am.”
Police along with officers from the Health and Safety Executive later referred the case to the Crown Office.
An inspection three days after Mr Connor’s death found that windows several rooms along with the lounge and corridor were unrestricted.
Mr Duffy said that Mr Connor’s death could have been avoided had a restrictor been in place.
The diocese pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the windows were fitted with a device to prevent them from being opened which led to Mr Connor’s death on May 30 2017.
This was committed from when the church took over the running of the home from the Little Sister of the Poor in July 2015 until June 2017 when the home closed.
Peter Gray QC, representing the diocese, said that the diocese had encountered numerous difficulties after taking over the home, which had previously been rated “very good” by the Care Inspectorate.
Mr Gray told Sheriff Alastair Carmichael: “It’s a matter of most profound regret and remorse that Mr Connor lost his life from falling for which the diocese is clearly responsible.
“The diocese wishes to extend its deepest condolences to the family for their tragic loss.
“The failure to install window restrictions was not a deliberate breach, it was an honest and genuine oversight committed during a period where a wide-range of unforeseen issues required to be addressed.”
When addressing Mr Connor’s family, who were in court for the hearing, Sheriff Carmichael said: “This is something that requires a bit of time and I want to set things out clearly.
“It’s a complicated matter, it probably sounds to you like a rather cold approach but it’s something I have got to look at very carefully.”
The case was continued until later this month. Mr Connor’s family declined to comment.