Essex

Summer Grant: Bouncy castle that killed girl not 'adequately anchored'

Summer Grant Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Paramedics were called to the park but Summer later died in hospital

A girl died after a bouncy castle that two workers had failed to "adequately anchor" was blown 300m across a park with her inside it, a court has heard.

Summer Grant, seven, from Norwich, died in hospital after visiting a fun fair in Harlow, Essex, on 26 March 2016.

Her father told Chelmsford Crown Court he saw the castle go "50ft in the air".

Fairground workers William Thurston, 29, and his wife Shelby Thurston, 26, both deny a health and safety offence and manslaughter by gross negligence.

Tracy Ayling QC, prosecuting, said Summer was with her father, Lee Grant, and other family members at Thurston's Fun Fair on Easter Saturday, and that Storm Katie was expected to arrive by Easter Monday.

"While Summer was in the bouncy castle, it blew away from its moorings and bounced 300 metres down a hill. Having hit a tree, it came to rest," she said.

The two defendants, of Whitecross Road, Wilburton, Cambridgeshire, sat side-by-side in the dock as Ms Ayling opened the prosecution's case.

"It's the Crown's case that they breached the duty of care they owed to Summer Grant by failing to ensure that the bouncy castle, called a circus super dome inflatable, was adequately anchored to the ground and failed to monitor weather conditions to ensure it was safe to use," Ms Ayling said.

Image caption It is believed a strong gust of wind swept the inflatable across the park

Mr Grant told the court he had taken his two daughters to the fair in Harlow Town Park that day.

When asked by the prosecution about the weather he said it was a bit windy but "nothing to think a bouncy castle would blow away".

'Cart-wheeling'

Mr Grant explained that Summer was on the bouncy castle when he heard his mother scream 'No'. When he turned he saw the bouncy castle in the air. He said "My daughter's in that" and he ran after it.

He told the court: "It went about 30-50 feet in the air, it was rolling down the field, rolling, rolling, rolling, I think it hit a tree."

Kevin Smith, an eyewitness who had been at the fair with his family, told the court there was a gust of wind and the dome started to move. He said: "It started tumbling and cart-wheeling in any direction it could."

He said he shouted to his partner that there was a little girl in there and ran after it. He said he saw it go down the hill and hit a fence.

The trial continues.

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