Fair ride operator fined after accident

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The owner and operator of a fair ride has been sentenced after a nine-year-old girl was flung from her carriage as it span at excessive speeds.

Patrick McGeough, 28, of Greetham Inn Lane, Greetham, admitted breaching a healthy and safety at work charge. He was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,500.

Northampton Crown Court heard on Tuesday that the girl, from Kent, was thrown from the Twister ride when the safety bar flew open.

She was slammed into a metal safety barrier in the incident at Holowell Steam Rally and Heavy Horse Show in Guilsborough, Northamptonshire, on November 3, 2012.

The girl had been attending the bonfire night event with her family and suffered severe internal bruising as a result.

She was off school for two weeks and not able to join in with PE lessons until the next term.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation into the incident found the ride, which was owned and operated by Patrick McGeough, was operating 50 per cent faster than its maximum design speed of 11rpm which increased the ejection force on the riders.

It also found the secondary locks for the safety bars, which keep riders in their cars, were not in use.

A prohibition notice and a direction to leave undisturbed was served preventing the ride’s further use until it had been inspected and faults rectified.

An improvement notice was also served requiring Mr McGeough to fit a means to ensure the ride could not be operated beyond its safe maximum speed. Both motices were complied with.

Speaking after the hearing, Health and Safety Executive inspector Neil Ward said: “Members of the public quite rightly expect fair rides to be safe. This one was not and it led to a traumatic incident for a young girl and her family.

“The incident could however easily have been prevented. Operating the ride beyond the speed it was designed to be run at, and without the secondary locks in place was a recipe for disaster.”