Husband of woman who broke her leg and foot in Royston fall slams councils for response

PUBLISHED: 08:33 01 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:40 01 March 2018

Jeanette Nelder, pictured with husband Steve, has been left with a broken leg and foot after falling in what they believe to be cooking oil spilt in Royston. Picture: Courtesy of Steve Nelder

Jeanette Nelder, pictured with husband Steve, has been left with a broken leg and foot after falling in what they believe to be cooking oil spilt in Royston. Picture: Courtesy of Steve Nelder

Archant

The husband of a woman who he says slipped in cooking oil and fell outside a chip shop in Royston, suffering “life-changing” injuries, has labelled the response from authorities as “astounding”.

Steve visited the site on Wednesday, two days after the fall, and it had not been cleaned up - but was later that day. Picture: Steve Nelder Picture: Courtesy of Steve Nelder Steve visited the site on Wednesday, two days after the fall, and it had not been cleaned up - but was later that day. Picture: Steve Nelder Picture: Courtesy of Steve Nelder

Jeanette Nelder, 74, had visited a hair salon in Angel Pavement on Monday last week – and was days from going away on a skiing trip – when on her way back to her car at about 1pm, she slipped and fell in what they believe was cooking oil on the pavement outside Master Fryer.

Her husband Steve told the Crow: “Fortunately when she fell, several people came to help, including a doctor from Market Hill, who was an orthopaedic specialist and called for an ambulance.

““You could see straight away it was bad. She’s fractured her tibia and fibula of her lower left leg, and has had them straightened and held together with pins and supported by a metal brace. She’s broken her heel too, and had a operation at Lister Hospital in Stevenage – where she remains.”

Master Fryer has said the spillage is nothing to do with the family firm, as the oil suppliers get from the shop is solid not liquid.

Master Fryer on Angel Pavement, Royston. Picture: Danny Loo Master Fryer on Angel Pavement, Royston. Picture: Danny Loo

Mr Nelder reported it to North Herts District Council the following day, and didn’t receive a response so he went into the council offices in Letchworth.

He said: “The lack of initial response to such a serious incident by NHDC is frankly appalling and could have resulted in further serious injuries to the public, or worse.

“If someone was to slip and hit their head they’d probably be killed. It’s a lethal situation.”

He also reported it to Herts County Council’s and they did call him back, and he was told the oil was cleaned up on the Wednesday evening, but has since heard about one other incident in the same area.

Jeanette Nelder broke her leg and foot after falling in Royston. Picture: Courtesy of Steve Nelder Jeanette Nelder broke her leg and foot after falling in Royston. Picture: Courtesy of Steve Nelder

The couple, who had previously lived in Steeple Morden for seven years, and now live in Willian – have been married 38 years and are retired.

They enjoy keeping active by walking their two-year-old coton de tulear dog Oscar, as well as going on holidays.

Mr Nelder, 66, said he was astounded the councils told him no further action would be taken.

He said: “To be told this is unforgivable. These injuries are live-changing for us – we’ve been told that Jeanette will be in a cast for six weeks, then she’ll have a recovery boot for two to three weeks then physio, looking at six months recovery time, but the consultant has said he hoped she will get back 75 per cent of the movement and agility she had in her foot prior to this.

“I have gone in and spoken to the staff at Master Fryer, they just shrugged their shoulders and said they knew nothing about it.

“I’m absolutely enraged. Spilling the oil was most likely an accident, but leaving it there and not cleaning it up is not. Someone needs to be held to account, so I would encourage anyone who saw what happened to come forward.”

In response, Master Fryer manager Bayram Pelit said: “It’s nothing to do with us.

“We have suppliers getting waste and oil from us, but it is solid – not liquid. So it did not come from our shop.

“I only found out about it the day the council were cleaning it up.

!I hope the lady gets well soon. When the man came in the shop those who were in did not understand him and he got aggressive. If I had been there I would have spoken to him calmly.”

An NHDC spokeswoman said they are investigating the complaint and are unable to comment further.

A spokesman for Ringway, which maintains pavements on behalf of HCC, said: “We were very sorry to hear that a lady had fallen and we responded to a report to clear up a spillage of cooking oil on the footpath. We sent a crew out on Monday after another report. However, our crew found no fault.”

A North Herts District Council spokeswoman said: “NHDC received a complaint from Mr Nelder on February 20. We advised him that we are actively investigating his complaint. However, until our investigations are concluded we are unable to comment further.”

A spokesman for Ringway, which maintains pavements on behalf of Herts County Council, said: “We were very sorry to hear that a lady had fallen near to Angel Pavement and we responded to a report to clear up a spillage of cooking oil on the footpath.

“We sent a crew out to the same location on Monday following another report. However, our crew found no fault, signs of oil or any slippery patches on the footway.”

If you saw what happened, email news@royston-crow.co.uk.

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