A seven year old girl has died after fairground workers failed to secure an attraction to the ground properly. Lee Grant was at a fair in Harlow Essex, with his daughter Summer when the tragic incident occurred. She is said to have been playing on the inflatable slide with her younger sister when a large gust of wind picked the attraction up and carried it some 300 yards, cartwheeling and careening along the way. Her horrified father tried to chase the inflatable, apparently shouting "my daughter's in there" before it crashed into a fence at the end of the perimeter. The court heard that the couple running the fair ground, William and Shelby Thurston, were watching on in horror and Mr Thurston ran down the hill and pulled Summer Grant from the attraction – with police saying he 'was shaken' and 'repeatedly stopped to catch his breath'. The couple have denied a joint charge of manslaughter by gross negligence at Chelmsford Crown Court.
The jury was told Summer died 'due to gross negligence and failure to correctly install' the Circus SuperDome, which was 'not properly anchored to the ground' by the Thurstons despite major storm warnings. After being pulled from the inflatable, the seven year old was treated by paramedics at the scene before being rushed to hospital where she was declared dead. Video footage captured by Summer's aunt, who was also there that day, shows the stakes which were supposed to be used to anchor the attraction and one is clearly improperly secured. Storm Katie was due to hit Essex just two days after the incident, and the wind was particularly strong yet the Thurstons failed to act on storm warnings causing the bouncy castle to lift into the air and flip over.
Summer's parents have paid tribute to their 'polite and beautiful' daughter after her death on March 26, 2016. Her mother, Cara Blackie, said: "Words just can't explain how I am feeling right now, life is just truly cruel. Summer was a bright, beautiful and most loving little girl it so unfair that you have been taken it just doesn't make sense, I'm truly heartbroken" and Mr Grant added "I never thought our beautiful angel would be taken away from us or that we would outlive her. She was the most happy, polite and beautiful girl in the world. I still can't come to terms she's not here. We all love you so so much, you will always be with us; love you to the moon and back, all our love Daddy, Mummy and family." William and Shelby Thurston face manslaughter charges for gross negligence, and charges of breaching health and safety regulations at the Essex fair site.
The trial continues at Chelmsford Crown Court and is expected to last three weeks.