CHESTERFIELD BETFRED DEATH: Firm apologises to family and donates £5k to charity

Brian Cole gave the cheque to the air ambulance at the weekend.
Brian Cole gave the cheque to the air ambulance at the weekend.
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Betfred has donated £5,000 to charity in memory of a former serviceman who lay dead overnight in the toilets of its Chesterfield store.

The betting giant has also apologised to the family of Loundsley Green man John Cole – and said lessons will be learned.

The late John Cole.

The late John Cole.

Mr Cole, 65, was reported missing on Monday, November 7, and his body was found by a cleaner in the toilets at the Burlington Street store the following morning.

He died of natural causes.

In a letter to Mr Cole’s family, Mark Stebbings, UK managing director of Betfred, said: “I would like to apologise on the company’s behalf for the fact that his body was not discovered on the Monday and for the extra distress that this must have caused.

“It is our policy that all public areas, including toilets, are thoroughly checked prior to the closing of the shop. It is a matter of great regret that on this occasion the cubicle in the gentlemen’s toilet was not checked.

“As a result of this incident I have reminded all staff across the entire retail estate of shops that the checking of public areas is essential before closing and that toilets are regularly checked throughout the day.”

He added: “As a gesture of goodwill, and in order now to bring closure, the company would like to make a donation of £5,000 to the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance, which I believe would have been in accordance with John’s wishes.”

Mr Cole’s brother Brian, from Brampton, thanked Betfred and said ‘good has come out of bad’.

He added: “It won’t bring my brother back but I’m pleased this vital charity will benefit and the company has learned lessons.”

A life-long resident of Chesterfield, popular Mr Cole spent 15 years in the Royal Navy. He was described as ‘wonderful’ by his family.