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ADELPHI IN COURT OVER DROWNING; Hotel denies two safety breaches.

Byline: BEN SCHOFIELD

LIVERPOOL'S famous Adelphi Hotel is being prosecuted over the death of a man who drowned in its swimming pool.

Student Madhav Cherukri, 25, was found dead at the bottom of the hotel's pool in Spindles health club.

An inquest into his death heard he perished while a lifeguard was in another room.

The hotel is now charged with breaking health and safety at work laws.

The allegation was denied at Liverpool magistrates court yesterday.

Mr Cherukri died after borrowing a member's Spindles pass and going for a swim at around 9.30am on August 30, 2006.

Reports at the time suggested he was lying at the bottom of the pool for up to 20 minutes before being found.

Two nurses - who were Spindles members - fought in vain to save him with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

He died just four days after his 25th birthday.

In a prosecution brought by Liverpool City Council Adelphi managers are also accused of having unsafe electrical systems.

A second charge alleges that in the run up to September, 2006, the hotel broke the Electricity at Work Act by "failing to maintain all systems so far as was reasonably practical as to prevent danger in Spindles health and leisure club".

It is believed the second alleged offence had nothing to do with Mr Cherukri's death.

But in the days following the tragedy environmental health officers launched a probe into safety in the hotel. Spindles was also temporarily closed by the management.

At a preliminary hearing at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday a barrister representing the Adelphi entered a not guilty plea.

The hearing was adjourned until February and the trial is not scheduled to begin until at least May next year.

Adelphi manager Brian Birchall said today: "I cannot comment because I was not here at the time.

"There's no one in the hotel that can answer."

An inquest later in 2006 recorded a narrative verdict into Mr Cherukri's death, but confirmed he drowned.

It was claimed he may have been "skylarking" in the pool before he got into difficulty.

The coroner also heard how he was prodded with a net handle by a pool attendant who had rushed to the scene from reception.

At the time of the accident the hotel's then manager, Eileen Downey - who is now an executive for Adelphi owner Britannia Hotels - said she was not obliged to have a lifeguard on duty and provided one on a voluntary basis.

She also said the hotel had made changes to the sports centre after a visit by health and safety officers.

Swimmer Elizabeth Hutton was in the pool when she spotted Mr Cherukuri.

She pulled the student above the surface with lifeguard Michael Johnson, who had come to poolside from reception.

Mr Cherukri was originally from India, but he had been staying with a friend in a flat on Smithdown Road while finishing studies at Staffordshire University.

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CHARGED: The Adelphi Hotel and the swimming pool where the 2006 tragedy happened
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 17, 2009
Words:499
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Adelphi faces court on 'safety breaches' Hotel charged after death of man in pool.

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