National retailer Wilko Retail Ltd – formerly known as Wilkinsons – has today (9 December 2016) been sentenced by Leicester Crown Court for its role in an accident in 2013 which has forced a young woman to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.

Corisande Collins was just 20 years old when she worked at the Wilko store in Leicester. Whilst on a night shift, a roll cage fell on to her back causing a severe fracture to her spine and complete loss of the use of her legs.

Ms. Collins was trapped under the weight of the roll cage and an air ambulance rushed her to Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry, where doctors told her she would never walk again.

The retailer admitted full liability for the accident and pleaded guilty to four charges concerning its failure to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees following an investigation by Environmental Health officers from Leicester City Council.

At the time of her accident, Corisande had just completed her first year of a B.A. Degree in Special Educational Needs at Northampton University. She had been working part time at the local store to help fund her course.

After the accident, Ms. Collins instructed specialist spinal cord injury solicitors Thompsons to represent her in a civil case to secure interim payments from Wilko to fund her rehabilitation and necessary adaptations to her home.

Corisande, now 23, said: “I never imagined something like this happening to me. Wilko are taking full responsibility for what happened but this will never make up for the fact I have lost the use of my legs and will spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

“Although my injuries are permanent, they will not stop me from achieving all I want to in life. I would not be in the position I am without the support of my friends, family and my solicitor at Thompsons. I have returned to my part-time course and am hoping to graduate next year.”

Linda Millband of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “My client has been through unimaginable pain and suffering due to a negligent employer. This heart-breaking case shows that health and safety standards aren’t simply ‘red tape’ and ‘bureaucracy’ – they protect workers from serious harm. When these laws are ignored, innocent people like Corisande are left with life-changing injuries.

“We are pleased with the prosecution brought by Leicester City Council – it is now up to employers to learn the lessons. We have worked hard to secure payments for Corisande’s short term and rehabilitative care. We will now fight to make sure she has funds in place to live out the rest of her life as independently as possible.”