Family's fury at 'slap on wrist' for nursery

THE family of a baby who died at a Milton Keynes nursery have hit out at a £60,000 fine for the company, calling it 'just a slap on the wrist'.

Jigsaw Day Nurseries was fined by Aylesbury Crown Court after five-month-old Thomas Egan died after being fed a cereal containing milk he was allergic to at the Browns Wood nursery in April 2001.

His parents, Wendy and Gareth Egan, have vowed to continue their battle against the nursery by taking the company to the civil court.

Mr Egan said: "They did not have the correct safety procedures in place and 60,000 is not a reflection of how bad this is. It is just a slap on the wrist for them. We feel duty bound to take this further."

Mrs Egan added: "I'm angry. They have taken my little boy away but they still get to keep their jobs and lives.

"He would be two years old now and should be running around our house."

Jigsaw Day Nurseries, which owns 36 nurseries, has an annual turnover of

17 million. The Milton Keynes-based company was made to pay a 60,000 fine and had already agreed to pay costs of 19,341.

It pleaded guilty to a number of failures under the Health and Safety at Work Act which had led to Thomas's death.

Barry Berlin, prosecuting, said: "There was a catalogue of failures in the system putting young children with food allergies at serious risk."

Judge Christopher Tyrer said: "What happened was preventable and should have been prevented. Once Thomas was given the cereal his fate was sealed."

Kate Thirlwell QC, defending, said: "From nursery nurse to chief executive, every individual in the organisation has the knowledge the defendant is responsible."

She pointed out that Thomas was the only baby of his age on record to die from anaphylactic shock.

Jigsaw chief executive Mike McKechnie said: "The accident is a matter of deep regret to Jigsaw and everyone who works for the company – we have all been devastated by this."

Milton Keynes Council is now inspecting all nurseries and child care organisations in the city.