Stoke & Staffordshire

Drayton Manor death: HSE yet to make charge decision

Evha Jannath Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Evha Jannath fell out of a circular boat on the Splash Canyon attraction near Tamworth, Staffordshire

The decision whether to prosecute a theme park two years after a girl died on a water ride is "yet to be made", a coroner heard.

Evha Jannath, 11, from Leicester, was on a school trip when she fell from the Splash Canyon ride at Drayton Manor on 9 May 2017 and died of chest injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is probing the fatal incident to see if criminal charges should be brought.

They said a decision would be made before the full inquest in November.

The HSE has been considering if there were any breaches of health and safety law since it took over the case in March.

Staffordshire Police had previously said the circumstances surrounding Evha's death did not "meet the threshold for gross negligence or corporate manslaughter".

Margaret Jones, assistant coroner for South Staffordshire, was told during a pre-inquest review in Cannock on Monday no decision had been made by the HSE.

"We will now seek to make a decision on prosecution in advance of inquest in November, but the inquest need not wait for that decision in any event," said Helen Wood, for the HSE.

Charles Curtis, barrister for Evha's family, said: "The family does not want this inquest postponed any further but it does seem the HSE have had a long time to investigate and it's of particular importance that decision they take is made as soon as possible."

Image copyright ThemeParks.ie
Image caption The Splash Canyon ride has remained closed since the death

A jury inquest listed for a week will be held in Stafford from 4 November.

It will hear read evidence from other pupils on Evha's boat and park staff will be giving accounts of rescue attempts, the coroner said.

Jurors will also view CCTV of the incident and hear from the ride's operators and senior park managers on what safety systems were in place.

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