Retail giant fined £2.2m after Northampton student was left paralysed by hundreds of falling paint pots

Miss Collins worked at the Beaumont Leys outlet of Wilko in Leicester.

Miss Collins worked at the Beaumont Leys outlet of Wilko in Leicester.

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Retail giant Wilko has been fined £2.2 million after a Northampton student was left paralysed when she was crushed under hundreds of pots of paint.

Former University of Northampton student Corisande Collins, 23, was working as a part-time customer services assistant at the store when the horrific incident occurred in August 2013.

Retailer Wilko has been fined 2.2 million for leaving a University of Northampton student with life-changing injuries.

Retailer Wilko has been fined 2.2 million for leaving a University of Northampton student with life-changing injuries.

She was crushed under hundreds of pots of paint when an overloaded roll cage weighing 35 stone (222kg) toppled on top of her.

Miss Collins, who stands just 5ft 4 inches high, suffered severe spinal injuries and was left wheelchair-bound after being paralysed from the waist down.

Wilko Retail Ltd previously pleaded guilty to four offences under the Health and Safety Act at Leicester Crown Court.

Yesterday, Wednesday, Corisande was in court with her mum Suzanne Collins, 56, and her sister Siobhan Aspley, 36, as the retail giant was fined £2.2million.

Wilko, which has almost 400 stores and 21,680 staff nationwide, with a turnover of £1.5 billion, was also ordered to pay £70,835 in legal costs.

The court heard Corisande was a 20-year-old first-year student at Northampton University when she was injured at the store in Beaumont Leys, Leicester.

She had worked part-time at the Wilko store since October 11 to fund her university studies and help out her mother.

At a previous hearing, Bernard Thorogood, prosecuting on behalf of Leicester City Council, said: "It was a truly life changing injury for Corisande and her family.

"The roll cage was off-loaded and as it came out the lift was higher than the landing and it toppled over the edge and it fractured her spine."

The court heard that before the tragedy, Corisande lived an "active outgoing life," had just passed her driving test and enjoyed taking her nephews and nieces to the park.

She spent several weeks at Coventry's Walsgrave Hospital after the accident, before being transferred to the spinal injuries unit in Sheffield.

She was discharged in December 2013 and returned part time to her university course 18 months after suffering her injury.

Corisande said previously: "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've 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 wouldn't be in the position I am without the support of my friends and family."