Human cannonball stunt boss Scott May showed 'disregard' for law

Matt Cranch
Image caption Mr Cranch died in hospital after being fired from the cannon mounted on a lorry

A stunt show boss showed a "flagrant disregard" for the law over the death of a "human cannonball" at one of his events, a court heard.

Matthew Cranch, 24, died when a safety net collapsed during Scott May's Daredevil Stunt Show in Kent, in 2011.

Maidstone Crown Court heard a mechanism which triggered the release of the safety net was not properly set.

May, 40, pleaded guilty at Maidstone Magistrates' Court in May to a health and safety charge.

A guilty plea was also entered on behalf of Stunts UK Ltd.

At a sentencing hearing, Mark Watson, prosecuting, said that given the scale of the risk, "it amounts to a flagrant disregard of the law".

Mr Watson said a quick release mechanism was only intended to be released when the stuntman had been caught in the net.

Image caption Matt Cranch was killed taking part in a stunt at Kent County Showground

But Mr Watson went on: "There was simply no need for there to be a quick release mechanism in those circumstances.

"It introduced a wholly unacceptable level of risk in relation to this stunt which was unnecessary."

Mr Watson said May had not deliberately breached his duty but had "hands on control", was responsible for safety and was present the day Mr Cranch died.

He said there were "warning signs" which should have prompted May and his company to reconsider the safety of the stunt.

He referred to two previous "near misses", including problems with the tension and issues where a stuntman nearly hit the ground.

Mr Cranch, originally from the Isle of Man, had performed the stunt five times, having joined the team about four weeks before his death.

Kent Police announced in December 2012 no criminal prosecution would be brought over the death.

Tanya Robinson, defending May, said: "Mr May considered himself to be compliant with health and safety legislation at the time. He believed he had done enough to protect his members of staff."

Sentencing has been adjourned until Tuesday.

Image caption The quick-release mechanism on the net was incorrectly set, the court was told

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites