On Monday October 12, 1992, Mark Hopkins was electrocuted while working at a McDonald’s restaurant in Manchester’s Arndale centre. McDonald’s never admitted responsibility or liability and the Coroners Court recorded a verdict of accidental death.
Mark Hopkin’s mother, Maureen, has now begun a campaign to reopen the case after receiving McDonald’s internal reports that she says shed new light on the case, by revealing evidence that never came out at the inquest.
Mrs. Hopkins gained access to the internal report on Mark’s death by McDonald’s National Safety Officer Jill Barnes, dated November 4, 1992, in September 1995. She also has the Environmental Health and Safety Prohibition Order that was issued a week after the death.
Mark’s death was put down to another employee, Robert Chapman, badly rewiring a plug on a fat-filtration machine without authorisation. Barnes’ report says that “incorrect wiring of the plug” was the “primary cause of the accident”. But it then details the events of the evening of October 12 and states, “In general terms (and there are exceptions) safety is not seen as being important at store level”. Barnes quotes the Environmental Health Officers (EHO) report, Michael Shirkie, in which he says, “You (McDonald’s) are contravening the Electricity at Work Act”. According to the EHO report electrical faults in the kitchen included two broken panels covers and a cover was missing off the floor socket and two broken sockets on the grill. It spoke of “blatant criminal negligence” by the company or individuals. The report makes clear that when the machine was in use basic safety procedures were routinely breached because of the pressure to finish the cleaning up.