Fairground Workers Deny Manslaughter Of Schoolgirl

16 August 2017, 12:09 | Updated: 16 August 2017, 12:14

Summer Grant

Two fairground workers have denied the manslaughter of a girl who died when a bouncy castle she was playing on blew away.

Summer Grant, seven, died from multiple injuries after a strong gust of wind apparently swept the inflatable across a park in Harlow, Essex, on March 26 2016.

Shelby Thurston, 25, and 28-year-old William Thurston, of Whitecross Road, Wilburton, near Ely, Cambridgeshire, both pleaded not guilty as they appeared before Chelmsford Crown Court on Wednesday, and will go on trial next year.

The pair, who are described in court papers as self-employed, also denied failing to discharge a health and safety duty relating to the management of an "inflatable circus super dome".

John Williams, defending, told the court that the trial would hear expert evidence from a meteorologist.

William Thurston, who has short brown hair and wore a dark blue suit, white shirt and striped tie, and Shelby Thurston, who has blonde hair and wore a dark blue dress and a brown belt, spoke only to confirm their details and to enter their not guilty pleas during the 25-minute hearing.

The pair, who wore hearing loops as they sat beside a dock officer, were bailed to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court for trial on February 5 2018.

Shauna Ritchie, prosecuting, said the trial was estimated to last for two to three weeks.

The parents of Summer, who lived in Norwich, paid tribute to their daughter after the tragedy.

Mother Cara Blackie said she was "truly heartbroken", adding: "Summer was a bright, beautiful and most loving little girl, it is so unfair that you have been taken, it just doesn't make sense."

Summer's father Lee Grant described her as the "most happy, polite and beautiful girl in the world".

He added: "I still can't come to terms she's not here."