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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 19 March, 2019
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Couple convicted of manslaughter of girl who died when bouncy castle blew away

Summer Grant suffered fatal injuries at a funfair in Essex on 26 March 2016

Summer Grant
Summer Grant
Image: Essex Police/Facebook

TWO FAIRGROUND WORKERS have been convicted of manslaughter after a seven-year-old girl died when the bouncy castle she was playing on blew away in high winds.

William Thurston, 29, and Shelby Thurston, 25, denied responsibility for the death of Summer Grant, who suffered fatal injuries at a funfair in Essex on 26 March 2016.

A jury at Chelmsford Crown Court today convicted the pair of gross negligence manslaughter following a three-week trial.

The court heard that Summer was playing on a bouncy castle at the fairground when it was swept away from its moorings, 300 metres down a hill.

Summer was taken to hospital but died from her injuries.

The defendants, who are married couple from Cambridgeshire, worked for a family-run business that operates funfairs across the UK.

The court heard how, on the day of the incident, wind speeds had been increasing throughout the day, with gusts in the region of 35-40mph (about 56-64kph) occurring late that afternoon. However, the couple continued to operate the bouncy castle and did not ensure that it was safely secured to the ground.

The pair were also found guilty of failing to discharge their health and safety duties. They will be sentenced in due course.

‘Our thoughts are with Summer’s family’ 

Nicola Rutter, senior prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said the couple “failed to ensure that the bouncy castle was adequately anchored to the ground and failed to monitor the weather conditions to ensure that it was safe to have it in use”.

They denied their actions were negligent but the CPS and the police built a strong case, together with assistance from the Health and Safety Executive, and demonstrated to the jury that the Thurstons had breached their duty of care to Summer.

“Our thoughts are with Summer’s family and friends,” Rutter added.

Comments are closed due to ongoing legal proceedings.

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Órla Ryan

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