The 2020 death of a man living in a room behind a London Road café has led to the prosecution of the business owner and seen her and her company found guilty of four offences under Health and Safety laws.
Mustafa Ozbek died in January 2020 after being electrocuted, caused by faulty connections installed at Adams Café Restaurant at 152 London Road in Broad Green.
Business owner Sukran Sanli appeared at Croydon Magistrates Court last week where she was ordered to pay £60,303 in fines and costs. Sanli also received a 26-week suspended prison sentence and was ordered to undertake 200 hours’ community work.
Croydon Council’s food and safety team had investigated the circumstances that led to Ozbek’s death, and found that Sanli had paid for work to be carried out on the premises by an unqualified electrician, first in 2016 and then again in 2019, four months before the fatal incident.
According to council officials, “Mr Ozbek’s electrocution occurred because there was no main earth connection to the incoming electrical supply and when a fault occurred on a circuit, the fuse did not operate to trip and cut off the electricity.
“This caused the metal pipework in the shower room to become live with a dangerous voltage which resulted in his death.”
Two Health and Safety Executive inspectors visited the premises and prepared a report regarding the electricity system. They also had a competent electrical contractor carry out a full inspection of the electrical installation.
The overall assessment was “unsatisfactory” with a number of items being identified as “potentially dangerous”.
Sanli pleaded guilty to four charges, two against her and two against her company, relating to offences under Section 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
The council advises businesses to employ only qualified and competent electricians, accredited by the Electrical Contractors Association, (ECA), NICEIC or NAPIT. “Look out for the logos and check the registration of the electrician before allowing them to undertake work,” the council says.
There is more guidance on the HSE website.
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My deepest sympaty to Mr Ozbeks family.
Mr Ozbek died and the culprit gets in effect a heavy slap on the wrists. Has his family been compensated?
A man was in effect killed by Ms Sani’s acts and omissions. Does this not fall under Corporate Manslaughter?
Corporate manslaughter is a criminal offence where a business or organisation is found to have caused a person’s death. Your business can be prosecuted for the offence of corporate manslaughter if the way you manage activities causes a death through a gross breach of duty of care to the deceased.
How many times was that Cafe and back buildings inspected by this Council prior to the incident?
Is this incident and death an abberation? Was this just a one off by a person wanting to save a few pennies and disregarded human life in the process?
I think not
How many developments/improvements/remedial works have taken place across Croydon in the last 5 years? How many have actually had a visit and the work really checked by the Council?
More to the point does the Council have any responsibility to do so any more?
A terraced house on St james road was burned down a few years ago – again faulty wiring and no fire alarms in a rented building from a landlord who perhaps had a landlord licence but was the property ever inspected by this Council? Seems not.
A man left homeless and all his worldy goods gone – no compensation landlord had no insurance or something else?
Ms Cheesbrough’s Building Control has not visited many places when they perhaps should have and that was prior to her taking over as director from Ms Mustafa.
Has anything changed?
Ms Townsends ”perfectly legal development” was signed off by her as having met all the conditions and allowed to be inhabited. Yet there were quite a few building regulations not met – and few of the planning conditions ignored also and the owner stating they had been met and this was accepted. But no one checked and they had not.
Yet one flat had a dirty great piller stopping the built in oven door from opening and making the cooker very unsafe and the landlord was allowed to let all three properties to people with young children? A brand new perfectly legal development with flaking paint and broken gas meter boxes and bits reportedly falling,off inside, walls not soundproofed yet still allowed to be inhabited by this Council?
On that this Council does have a duty and failed to meet it. It also failed to prevent detriment and injury to others resulting from that development.
The independent building inspector passed the issues back to Croydon Council in late November 2021 for council enforcement due to the failures. The Landlord was allowed to let the three flats and had them occupied by January 2022. Mr Penn planning enforcement advised to be patient in Feb 2022 and was still awaiting the Architects re submission for retrospective planning permission – the developer still has not completed the party wall act 16 months later and blatently refuses to do so.
It is March 2023 and issues are still there.
This is not also a sole incident Another had a new roof to replace one that was falling off onto the pavement and into other properties. The new one leaks water and the guttering has never worked -even the downpipe just goes to a soakaway a few inches from the front wall.
Building controls response?
Dear Ian Kierans
Thank you for your e-mail the details has been noted. I will advise you to seek legal advised it the works is to the boundary .
Issues of building control we are addressing them .We cannot go through in details on the application which was made by no14 to building control
I can confirm that we received application for the re-roofing .
(email forwarded to IC Editor)
Now Ms Cheesbrough is fully aware of this as she was copied into the lot. One year later and the new roof is still leaking water and the soakaway is still by house foundations and the crack in the side wall where the front of the building dropped still visible and unrepaired.
I am sure many others in Croydon have similar real incidents and must be wondering are they in some alternative reality.
The fact is
Just about every two bit shyster hobby developer wanting to do things on the cheap getting crap builders in doing shoddy jobs that fall apart in weeks knows one thing – They are very unlikely to be checked by this Council until after the fact and not even then.
Even when you report matters to this Council Planning and Building regulations very little action is taken – perhaps the legislation is just not there to enable them to do the job?
Irrespective – This is still continuing to happen in homes near you.
This may be pure incompetence, but I strongly suspect that it is not just the people at the council only at fault but the culture and the systems and structures that are at fault also.
Definitely the civil legislation is clearly not fit for purpose and justice is far out of reach of most individuals and homeowners. Insurance companies are also not willing to cover those kind of Court cases as they are uneconomical.
So people in Croydon continue to live in unsafe conditions and are injured, maimed lose belongings, suffer damage to property and all with very little prevention or deterrance, and no intervention from Councillors made fully aware of those events as they were happening.
Perhaps it is time that all the issues we in Croydon have had to put up with are raised in full to Mr Gove along with the protest over the 15%
Until someone does something we ahve a Council that continues to have little control and is unfit for purpose in so many areas.
3 years later and Mr Ozbek has not received justice. But Croydon Council advises?
Seriously? They should hang their heads in shame.
Instead of advising why not implement codes that are enforceable and actually enforce?