AN inquest into the death of a 10-year-old boy, who was killed when a barrier fell on him The Oracle Topshop store, will also examine details of a separate incident where a young girl's skull was fractured in another Topshop store.

Kaden Reddick died after a display queue barrier fell on his head and fatally injured him in Topshop at the Oracle Shopping Centre in Reading, while his mother was paying at the till on February 13, 2017.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided in January that no criminal charges would be brought against Topshop's parent company, chaired by Sir Philip Green's, Arcadia Group Ltd, because there was no realistic prospect of conviction.

However, assistant coroner for Berkshire, Alison McCormick, has told a pre-inquest review into the child's death that a jury would be asked to consider an incident which took place just weeks before in the Topshop store at the Silverburn shopping centre in Glasgow.

A 10-year-old girl was left with a fractured skull because a badly-installed queue barrier fell on to her head at the Scottish store on February 7, 2017.

Topshop's parent company, Arcadia Group Ltd., admitted breaching health and safety laws and was fined £450,000.

Ms McCormick said: "It [the Silverburn incident] was shortly before and so, so similar.

"I think the Silverburn incident is very properly part of the scope of the inquest (into Kaden's death)."

The coroner added that another incident, in the Trafford Centre in Manchester, would also be considered, as well as the design and modification of the barriers and metal MDF plinths in the Topshop in the Oracle centre in Reading.

It was also revealed that the inquest may have to be delayed as Reading Borough Council was considering whether to press criminal charges against some of the parties represented at the inquest - Arcadia/Topshop, Dalziel & Pow (a retail design agency), Realm Projects (a bespoke commercial joinery specialists) and Stoneforce (a project developer).

Simon Antrobus (corr) QC, representing Arcadia, told the inquest: "Invitation to attend interview under caution has been offered to my client and to other parties by Reading Borough Council.

"There is an extant criminal investigation being conducted by Reading Borough Council. It crosses my mind as to how this inquest is going to work in parallel with the criminal proceedings.

"A criminal investigation and criminal trial would deal with matters of responsibility which may well be matters of priority for all concerned."


Reading Borough Council, Stuart Marchant told Ms McCormick the council was happy for an inquest to go ahead, as it was a separate proceeding to any potential criminal ones and promised to update all parties once the council had made a decision.

Mr Marchant said: "The council is continuing to gather evidence so that it can take a decision and it understands the responsibility to come to a decision at an appropriate stage, which is as early as possible."

Nicholas Leviseur, representing Kaden's parents, Lisa Cooper Mallett and Ian Reddick, who had flown down from Scotland to attend, told the inquest the family was keen to proceed with the hearing at the earliest possible stage.

Mr Leviseur said: "We would make strong representations that this inquest should proceed."

Ms McCormick replied: "I am wholly, wholly sympathetic to Kaden's family's wish to have this matter proceeded expeditiously and it is a wish and a hope that I share."

The coroner said she would seek to schedule a 10-day inquest early next year which would involve a jury being sworn in, who would hear 20 statements in all and the evidence of expert witnesses.

She added that edited CCTV footage would be shown to the jury of the moments leading up to the display queue barrier falling in the Oracle Topshop, which would stop short at the moment the barrier fell and not show the distressing aftermath - although the full clip would be available to experts, the coroner said, if it would help them determine how Kaden died.

CCTV footage would also be shared showing "wobble tests" conducted by the police on the Oracle barriers.

Ms McCormick had told the hearing in Reading: "An inquest answers four questions: who died, where they died, when they died and how they died. I also have to make a decision in terms of the medical cause of death. There will also have to be a conclusion at the end of the inquest.

"An inquest is not a trial, not a trial in any sense of the word. Nobody is on trial here. It is also not a public inquiry. It is really important that everybody remembers that in the context of the inquest to come."