Council could face action over death
By Juliette MaxamA COUNCIL could be prosecuted following the death of a father-of-two who hit his head when he dived into a lake.Kevin Gay, 47, from Shoebury, died in front of his wife and two children after the accident at Marine Lake, Promenade Park, Maldon, in August.
By Juliette Maxam
A COUNCIL could be prosecuted following the death of a father-of-two who hit his head when he dived into a lake.
Kevin Gay, 47, from Shoebury, died in front of his wife and two children after the accident at Marine Lake, Promenade Park, Maldon, in August.
One possible theory to Mr Gay's death is that he hit his head on a vandalised depth marker post.
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Maldon District Council has confirmed part of the depth marker post had been snapped off and the rest was submerged beneath the murky water of the lake, which it owns.
A spokeswoman from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said its report into the accident was expected at the end of the month.
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"The investigation is still ongoing. It's reaching its final stages. It's been very complicated," she added.
A Maldon District Council spokesman said: "The HSE report is on whether to bring a prosecution against the council."
The two-acre Marine Lake was emptied after the fatal accident and has remained closed since. HSE inspectors have told the council it cannot operate the lake as it did before the accident.
In verbal feedback to council officers, the inspectors have highlighted concerns relating to the management of the lake, public access to the area, public swimming and lifeguards.
Maldon District Council employed independent consultants to conduct a review of the lake aimed at considering the changes required to minimise any future risks to bathers.
They came up with two options: to either divide the lake into two distinct bathing and boating areas; or fill most of it with sand and build a concrete paddling pool.
In both cases the lake would be fenced and only open when lifeguards were on duty.
Council officers have told members of its community services committee the only option which would be acceptable to the HSE would be to turn the lake into a paddling pool.
But committee members have asked officers to find out if it would be possible to keep the whole lake, but reduce its depth to below two feet.
In the meantime, the lake is due to remain closed for the whole of this year's summer season, with alteration work due to start in the winter.