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Four in court after life-threatening fairground accident

A fairground ride manufacturing company, its director, and two ride assessors have been sentenced after a teenager was ejected from a ride at a festival in Hertfordshire.

What happened?

The 14-year-old was riding the Orbitor Extreme ride at the Sonisphere music festival, when he suddenly came free from the ride’s car harness and was propelled through the steel perimeter fence panels.

He sustained life-threatening injuries, including broken ribs and shoulder, a torn aorta, and a shattered ankle, and was in hospital for a week.

The ride was only on its third outing after leaving the manufacturer, and an investigation into the incident found that there were a number of serious defects which were not picked up at any of the ride’s design, testing or sign-off stages.

Additionally, numerous discrepancies were found in the documentation for each stage which showed that design, design review and initial test processes hadn’t been carried out adequately.

What was the outcome?

Perrin Stevens Ltd was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 6 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Perrin Stevens as the sole director of Perrin Stevens Ltd, was also fined £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000 after pleading guilty to the same offence.

Additionally, ride inspectors Martyn Lacey and Frederick Meakin were each fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

HSE Inspector, Stephen Manley, said:

“Fairground machinery is designed to provide people attending
fairs with an exciting, fun time without exposing them to
serious danger. There are defined procedures to follow
to make sure rides are safe when they are designed,
built and used. These must be respected at all
times, as they are by the majority of
operators in the industry.

“In this instance, not one of the parties involved properly
fulfilled their duties, and the outcome was a very
serious but entirely preventable incident,
which could easily have cost a
young teenager his life.

“Luckily, no one died this time, but this incident should serve
as a lesson to fairground owners, ride manufacturers and
examiners that cutting corners is unacceptable and
will lead to putting lives at risk.”

If you have been affected by an incident such as this, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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