Lorraine White ran a business which involved chaining and whipping clients in an S&M “dungeon” in an industrial estate in Stockport. Her conviction for preventing her clients from escaping was not the result of her work, however, but because of a locked fire door.
After firemen were called to a blaze at the premises, called the Medusa Club, they found that they were unable gain access to the underground chamber. When they finally did get into the club, they found an array of equipment inside the dungeon, together with several canisters of nitrous oxide (laughing gas).
The subsequent investigation found that the fire exit was permanently locked and there was only one fire alarm which was manually operated. When asked what would happen in the event of a fire if her clients were restrained or under the influence of nitrous oxide, Ms White stated that she had not considered it and had not realised that she was legally responsible for health and safety precautions.
Ms White pleaded guilty to failing to carry out a proper risk assessment, install suitable fire alarms, maintain emergency exits or install suitable emergency lighting. She was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs.
Peter O’Reilly, Director of Prevention and Protection at the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: “No matter what business you have, you must take fire safety seriously.”