Trust which runs Burghley House admits health and safety failings after butler’s death

Arthur Mellar, from Stamford

Arthur Mellar, from Stamford

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The charity which runs Burghley House near Stamford faces a hefty fine after a butler was crushed to death in a luggage lift.

The Burghley House Preservation Trust, which maintains the iconic house, pleaded guilty to health and safety failings on Friday at Peterborough Crown Court.

Arthur Mellar, 47, died at Peterborough City Hospital hours after his head was crushed in a lift on July 12, 2014, at the Elizabethan country estate.

Mr Mellar, who lived in Stamford, had worked at the 16th century Burghley House for nine years.

On Friday the Burghley House Preservation Trust pleaded guilty to one count of failing to ensure the welfare of their employee.

Burghley House featured in the TV series Middlemarch, 2006 film The Da Vinci Code and the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

The Trust admitted failing to discharge a duty under Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, contrary to Section 33 (1) of the Health and Safety Act 1974.

It is responsible for the preservation and showing of Burghley House.

Following the short 10-minute hearing at Peterborough Crown Court the trust released a statement.

Sir John Nutting Bt QC, chairman of the Governors of Burghley House Preservation Trust Limited, said: “The Governors and I, and all at Burghley, continue to be deeply saddened by the tragic accident that resulted in Arthur Mellar’s death in July 2014.”

The Health and Safety Executive and police launched an investigation into safety standards at the home following the incident.

The home was designed and built in 1587 by William Cecil, close adviser and confidante to Queen Elizabeth I.

Judge Sean Enright dismissed the initial suggested sentencing date of March 24, and said it was too far away.

The trust, which was defended by Ms Sarah Le Fevre, will instead be sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court on Monday, February 27.

Mr Mellar’s partner, Gerwin Castillo, was present in court but said he would comment on the case after sentencing.

In 2014, Mr Castillo paid tribute to his partner of three years in the Mercury, saying he was a “loving, generous and kind” man, adding: “He was my life.”