London: A gym and a lift company are being prosecuted over the death of a City banker who was crushed by a lift at a health club.

Katarzyna Woja, 32, a fund manager, was stepping out of the lift at Broadgate Health Club when its cable snapped and the hydraulic cabin plunged downwards.

She became trapped between the cabin's mantel and the lift shaft and was dragged downwards. She suffered horrific injuries and died soon after.

Woja was on her way to her regular lunchtime workout at the £118-a-month gym when the accident happened in March 2003. She was in the lift with seven others but was the only one injured as she was the last to step out.

Holmes Place Health Clubs, which owns Broadgate Health Club, and German lift company ThyssenKrupp are being held responsible for the lift malfunction. Woja, who was originally from Poland, had been living in Highgate for 10 years. She was married and had no children.

She earned more than £100,000 (Dh542,728.27) a year working for investment bank Invesco, where colleagues described her as "exceptionally gifted." Speaking before her funeral, her Serbian husband Nebojsa Dorontic said: "My grief at losing Katarzyna cannot be conveyed into words." Following her death, Sir John Morgan, a former British ambassador to Poland, said that Woja, who kept her maiden name, was destined for "great things".

After a police investigation during which detectives considered bringing manslaughter charges Holmes Place has been charged with six breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act while ThyssenKrupp has been charged with four breaches. Both companies pleaded not guilty at an initial hearing at City of London magistrates' court last month. The case, which is being brought by the Corporation of London rather than the Crown Prosecution Service, will be heard in June. The maximum possible penalty for each company would be a fine of £75,000. No individuals have been named in the indictments and no one can be sent to prison.

A spokesman for Virgin Active which bought the Holmes Place business in 2006 and is held liable in cases of legal action said the company "has cooperated with the investigation of the cause."