Funfair boss jailed after child killed on faulty trampoline

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An operations manager at a funfair company has been jailed after a three-year-old girl died playing on a defective trampoline on a Norfolk beach.

Ava-May, from Suffolk, had been taken by family to the Bounce About attraction at Gorleston-on-Sea on 1 July, 2018.

She and a nine-year-old girl were on the trampoline when a blast happened without warning.

While the older child suffered minor injuries, Ava-May was thrown up 40 feet, or the height of a house. She landed on the beach and sustained fatal
head injuries.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council worked with HSE to prosecute Johnsons Funfair Limited and its operations manager, Curt Johnson.

Their investigation found that Mr Johnson had imported the inflatable trampoline from China in 2017 without testing it to ensure it was safe.

A detailed test by a suitable expert should have been done on the item’s arrival in the UK. It should also have been verified that the item was manufactured in accordance with the design. Neither had been done.

Johnsons Funfair Limited, of Great Yarmouth, was fined £20,000 for breaching sections 6(1A)(a) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Curt Johnson, of Swanston’s Road, Great Yarmouth, pleaded guilty to his part in each of the company’s two offences and was sentenced to six months in custody for each offence and disqualified as a director for five years.

Investigating HSE inspector Ivan Brooke said: “This was supposed to be a fun day out, but it ended in tragedy. The operator flouted the rules on certification and testing to devastating consequences.”

“Had the company carried out the required checks, and followed the freely available, well-established guidance, this tragedy would not have happened.”

James Wilson, head of environment and sustainability at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, added: “The sentencing of those responsible finally brings some closure to an unbearably difficult time for Ava May’s family and the council is pleased justice has been served.”