Firm admits fairground ride safety lapse

A MANAGING director and his company have admitted safety breaches relating to a fairground accident which left at least ten people injured.

Colin Adwent

A MANAGING director and his company have admitted safety breaches relating to a fairground accident which left at least ten people injured.

The charges relate to the Hellraiser ride that crashed off its rails at the Long Melford Big Night Out in November 2007.

Frederick Meakin, of Stretton Park, Stretton, Rutland, pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act when he appeared before Ipswich Crown Court.


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His company, Fairground Inspection Services, of the same address, admitted a charge of employer/self employed person failing to ensure the safety of a person.

The offences related to the period April 1 to June 16, 2007.

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Five people needed hospital treatment after cars on the Hellraiser ride smashed into each other concertina-style at the fair near Sudbury.

The most seriously hurt were said to have sustained spinal and leg injuries.

On the night of the accident - Friday, November 2, 2007 - around a dozen other people were described as “walking wounded” by the emergency services.

Health and Safety Executive officers spent the following day at the site in the grounds of Long Melford Hall as their investigation began.

Early indications suggested structural failure may have been the cause of the accident.

In February at the first hearing of the case at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court in Ipswich, Fairground Inspection Services stood accused of failing to check on all the safety critical components of the Hellraiser ride.

Another defendant in the case Walter Shufflebottom, of John's Way South Ockendon, Essex, also appeared at Ipswich Crown Court.

The 62-year-old has pleaded not guilty to failing to check the safety of critical components on the ride.

His next appearance will be before the same court on October 7, in preparation for his trial which has been fixed for November 2.

Meakin and Fairground Inspection Services will be sentenced at the conclusion of Shufflebottom's trial.

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