Fairground horror bouncy castle where girl, 7, died ‘was packed away before police arrived'

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
A witness told the trial that the bouncy castle carrying Summer Grant was packed away before police arrived (SWNS/PA)

A bouncy castle that blew across a fairground carrying a seven-year-old girl was packed into a trailer before police arrived, a court has heard.

Summer Grant was rescued from the inflatable after it hit a tree and came to rest against a fence, but died of her injuries in hospital, a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court was told.

Fairground worker William Thurston, 29, and his wife Shelby Thurston, 26, both deny manslaughter by gross negligence and a health and safety offence following the incident at Harlow Town Park in Essex.

Shelby Thurston and husband William are charged with manslaughter by gross negligence (SWNS)

Prosecutors say that the Thurstons, of Whitecross Road, Wilburton, near Ely, Cambridgeshire, failed to ensure that the bouncy castle was ‘adequately anchored’ to the ground and failed to monitor weather conditions to ensure it was safe to use on Easter Saturday in 2016.

Kyle Ramm said in a witness statement that he saw the bouncy castle ‘flipping and spinning’ down the hill towards him as he spoke to his colleague Karen Hughes at Pets’ Corner city farm, where they both work, at the edge of Harlow Town Park.

He said: ‘Suddenly Karen said ‘oh my God’ and pointed in the direction of the fair.

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‘When I looked I saw a yellow dome-style bouncy castle blowing down the hill.

‘It was flipping and spinning as it bounced, at least the height of an adult down the hill towards our sheep paddock.’

Mr Ramm said the bouncy castle hit a fence and a tree ‘with some force as it had snapped a branch’.

The scene where Summer Grant died after strong winds blew a bouncy castle more than 150m across Harrow Town Park in Essex (SWNS)

He added: ‘I could see there were people from the fair chasing after it. One of them unzipped the castle before going in and coming out with a young girl.

‘They then placed her in the recovery position and shouted ‘call an ambulance’.’

He said the bouncy castle was soon ‘totally flat’, adding: ‘I saw people from the fair had started to load the castle up onto a trailer.

The seven-year-old died of her injuries in hospital (SWNS)

‘Shortly after the castle was removed police arrived and appeared to be cross that the castle had been moved.’

Tommy King, who also works at Pets’ Corner, told the trial on Wednesday that a truck-type car’ came over and ‘probably about half a dozen’ people packed the inflatable away.

He said that afterwards police arrived and started cordoning off the area with police tape, placing orange cones down and taking details.

The trial continues at Chelmsford Crown Court (Wikipedia)

Ben Mansfield, who was at the fair with his wife and son, said it was a rainy day and that before the bouncy castle blew away he saw an inflatable slide being taken down, adding: ‘It looked like it was being done in quite a hurry.’

Aaron Cartwright, who was also at the fair, said: ‘It was wet and windy. It was just a bit of a dismal day, really.’

Summer, from Norwich, had been at the fair with her father Lee Grant and other family members.

The trial continues.