Family of Maureen Marsh secure out-of-court settlement with Morrisons

St Helens Star: Lee Marsh and his father Dennis, holding a photo of Maureen, have reached an out-of-court settlement with Morrisons Lee Marsh and his father Dennis, holding a photo of Maureen, have reached an out-of-court settlement with Morrisons

THE family of a grandmother who died after tackling a shoplifter has agreed an out-of-court settlement from supermarket chain Morrisons.

Maureen Marsh, 56, suffered a ruptured aneurysm after confronting a thief as he tried to escape with razor blades from the supermarket on Baxters Lane in Sutton in April 2009.

Drug user Stephen Brighouse was found guilty of theft after a trial at Liverpool Crown Court in December 2010 but a jury could not agree on a verdict for charges of unlawful killing or assault.

Maureen’s family launched a civil action against Morrisons claiming that the firm instructed her to stop shoplifters without giving her adequate training.

Despite initially denying the claims, the supermarket giant agreed an undisclosed out-of-court settlement three weeks before the case was due for trial.

Maureen’s son Lee, 30, from Parr said the family felt a sense of relief.

He said: “We have gone through a lot. It’s never been about the money. We just wanted to make sure it doesn’t happen to anybody else.

“Throughout this my dad has been brilliant. Around the time it happened he had lost a lot of people – his brother, cousin and wife.

“You couldn’t ask for anyone as strong as him. I found it difficult and hard to get my head round it.

“After all this was my mum and she had only gone to work. The next day she died.

“And the guy (Brighouse) was just done for theft and he had already served several months on remand.

“It really hit home how hard it’s been when I got married because my mum would have been there. She was a massive figure in the family.

“Now it’s over and we can move on. There has always been something going and going and at times it felt like it was going on forever.”

Lee, an amateur rugby league player with Blackbrook who formerly played semi-professionally for clubs, including Leigh, said that early on he and his father Dennis insisted they wanted to hold Morrisons to account.

He continued: “It’s been frustrating because it’s taken that long but we knew from day one we were going to pursue action against Morrisons.

“My mum was always a loyal person. That was her nature. If someone was stealing, regardless of whether it was from a multi-million pound company, they were stealing from her. That’s the way she was.

“But finally after so many years Morrisons have come to their senses.”

Martyn Hughes, personal injury lawyer with Slater & Gordon representing Mrs Marsh’s family, welcomed the settlement: “Employers in this country have a duty of care to ensure that their employees are kept reasonably safe at work but it was our argument that Morrisons had failed Mrs Marsh in this respect.

“We uncovered evidence that on a fairly regular basis employees had apprehended shoplifters who were often unpredictable, aggressive and even violent without receiving adequate training. Some had been threatened.

“Sadly the incident involving Mrs Marsh was an accident waiting to happen.”

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