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Theme park sentenced after four-year-old suffers serious head injuries

Chessington World of Adventures has been prosecuted after a four-year-old girl suffered serious head injuries when she fell from a raised walkway.

What happened?

The child was queuing for a ride in the theme park when she fell nearly four metres through a gap in a wooden fence. She sustained extensive injuries including a fractured skull, bleeding to the brain and broken ribs, and remained in hospital for a month. She still needs extensive rehabilitation treatment and specialist support.

An investigation into the incident found that the fence palings had evidence of white and brown rot, and one of the palings had fallen out on the morning of the incident.

Additionally, despite tens of thousands of people visiting the park each year, an adequate system of checking and inspecting the fencing or a maintenance process to ensure faults were identified and rectified had not been put in place.

What was the outcome?

Chessington World of Adventures Operations Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £21,614>in costs.

Investigating HSE inspector, Karen Morris, said:

“This was a disastrous and horrifying incident for the child and her parents.
They had travelled from their home in Kent for a fun day out together
at this well-known attraction only to find themselves hours
later in an intensive care ward with their daughter.

“Quite simply, Chessington had insufficient measures in place to prevent
or control the risk of falling from the raised walkway in the
first place – and this was not just a couple of feet
from the ground but nearly four metres.

“This incident shows the importance of implementing robust systems
for checking and maintaining all aspects of rides, and this
includes the walkways and fencing associated
with queuing and where people gather.”

If you have suffered an accident at a theme park, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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