Head ordered to pay £20,000 over pupil's death

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The Independent Online

A headteacher was ordered to pay £20,000 in fines and legal costs today over the death of a three-year-old boy at his school.

James Porter was convicted earlier this year of breaching health and safety rules after Kian Williams, three, died in August 2004.

The Health and Safety Executive said Porter, who was prosecuted in his role as proprietor of the school, was fined £12,500 at Mold Crown Court today. He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £7,500.

Kian, described by teachers in court as "lively and energetic", died after jumping down four steps in an out of bounds area while pretending to be Batman at Hillgrove private school in Bangor, Gwynedd.

In July, Porter was found guilty by an 11-1 majority jury verdict of failing to do enough to make the school steps safe.

The steps were gated after the accident.

Kian, of Bethesda, died on August 11 2004, in Alder Hey Children's Hospital, from an MRSA strain of pneumonia.

Although he broke no bones during the accident, he suffered swelling to the brain.

An inquest into Kian's death in February 2005 recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Porter, who has owned and run the private school for more than 30 years, was described in court during the trial as having an exemplary safety record.