Essex

Bouncy castle death trial jury sent home

Summer Grant Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Summer Grant, 7, died when the bouncy castle was blown 300m away

The jury in the trial of two fairground workers, accused over the death of a seven-year-old girl on a bouncy castle, has been sent home for the weekend.

Summer Grant died in hospital after she was rescued from the inflatable in Harlow, Essex, on 26 March 2016.

William Thurston, 29, and his wife Shelby, 26, deny manslaughter by gross negligence and a health and safety offence at Chelmsford Crown Court.

The couple told the court they believed the inflatable could not blow away.

The defendants, of Whitecross Road in Wilburton, near Ely, Cambridgeshire, were at an Easter fair in the town.

Prosecutors said they had failed to ensure the bouncy castle was "adequately anchored" to the ground and failed to monitor weather conditions to ensure it was safe to use.

The jury will return to continue deliberations at 10:00 BST on Tuesday.

Mr Thurston earlier told the court he momentarily "froze" before chasing the bouncy castle as it went "tumbling" down a hill.

When he reached it he unzipped an emergency exit, carried Summer, of Norwich, out and placed her in the recovery position, describing it as "the worst thing I'd ever seen".

Image copyright Joe Giddens/PA
Image caption Shelby and William Thurston deny manslaughter by gross negligence

The bouncy castle had lifted "suddenly" and Mr Thurston felt "a sense of disbelief" and "froze for a second" before giving chase.

Charles Bott QC, for the defence, asked his client: "Do you regard yourself as in any way to blame for the death of Summer Grant?"

Mr Thurston replied: "I do feel a sense of responsibility, yes. The simple fact is we could have taken the bouncy castle down sooner. Obviously, now I wish we had."

Image caption Cordons were set up at the fairground after police arrived at Harlow Town Park on Easter Saturday in 2016

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