Tyne & Wear

Dreamspace deaths: Judge defers blame decision

A High Court judge has deferred a decision on who should be blamed for a tragedy involving an inflatable artwork in a County Durham park.

Elizabeth Anne Collings, 68, and Claire Furmedge, 38, died when the Dreamspace artwork blew free in Chester-le-Street in July 2006.

The amount of compensation due to their families has been settled and the hearing was to determine who would pay.

Sitting in London, Mr Justice Foskett reserved the decision to a future date.

The huge walk-in structure - half the size of a football pitch - took off in a gust of wind with 20 visitors inside.

Ms Furmedge, from Chester-le-Street, and Ms Collings, from Seaham, died from injuries suffered when they fell from the artwork. Several others were badly hurt.

Details of compensation have not been released, but it is believed to amount to millions of pounds.

Chester-le-Street District Council - which is now covered by Durham County Council - has said that the art event organiser, Brouhaha International Limited (BIL), should bear at least two-thirds of the legal responsibility.

However, the Liverpool-based company said it was not to blame.

No date has been announced for the judge's ruling.

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