Fairground workers charged over tragic bouncy castle death of seven-year-old Summer Grant in Harlow, Essex

PUBLISHED: 22:48 15 June 2017 | UPDATED: 22:48 15 June 2017

Police and forensic officers at the scene where seven-year-old Summer Grant 
died from multiple injuries after a strong gust of wind apparently swept an inflatable bouncy castle 150 metres across a park in Harlow, Essex. Picture: STEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA WIRE

Police and forensic officers at the scene where seven-year-old Summer Grant died from multiple injuries after a strong gust of wind apparently swept an inflatable bouncy castle 150 metres across a park in Harlow, Essex. Picture: STEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA WIRE

Two fairground workers have been charged with gross negligence manslaughter after a “bright, beautiful and most loving little girl” died when a bouncy castle she was playing on blew away.

Summer Grant, aged seven, died from multiple injuries after a strong gust of wind apparently swept the inflatable 150 metres across a park in Harlow, Essex, on March 26 2016.

Essex Police said that Shelby Thurston, 25, and 28-year-old William Thurston of Whitecross Road, Wilburton, Cambridgeshire have been charged with manslaughter by gross negligence.

The pair have also been charged with a health and safety offence and are due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on July 19.

The parents of Summer, who lived in Norwich, paid tribute to their “bright, beautiful and most loving little girl” after the tragedy.

Cara Blackie, the girl’s mother, said she was “truly heartbroken”, adding: “Summer was a bright, beautiful and most loving little girl, it is so unfair that you have been taken, it just doesn’t make sense.”

Summer’s father, Lee Grant, said: “I never thought our beautiful angel would be taken away from us or that we would outlive her.

“She was the most happy, polite and beautiful girl in the world. I still can’t come to terms she’s not here.”

Detectives are trying to trace a witness who was near the fairground rides in Harlow Town Park at the time of the incident. He is described as a young black man, believed to be aged in his teens.

Punam Malhan, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS East of England, said she advised Essex Police to charge the pair of fairground workers on Thursday.

She said: “May I remind all concerned that Shelby and William Thurston have a right to a fair trial.

“It is very important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”

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