Court hears father ran after bouncy castle as it was blown 300-metres down a hill with his daughter inside - as two Wilburton fairground workers stand trial over her death

PUBLISHED: 10:08 18 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:08 18 April 2018

Seven-year-old Summer Grant, who died at a fun fair in Essex in 2016. Picture: SUPPLIED BY SCALA

Seven-year-old Summer Grant, who died at a fun fair in Essex in 2016. Picture: SUPPLIED BY SCALA

supplied by Scala

A distraught father ran after a bouncy castle as it was blown away with his seven-year-old inside before her death a court heard - as two Wilburton fairground workers stand trial for manslaughter.

Summer Grant, of Norwich, died from multiple injuries after a strong gust of wind apparently swept the bouncy castle she was playing on across a park in Harlow, Essex, on March 26 2016.

Fairground worker William Thurston, 29, and his wife, Shelby Thurston, 26, both deny manslaughter by gross negligence and a health and safety offence.

The two defendants, of Whitecross Road, sat side by side in the dock as the case opened at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday.

The schoolgirl from Hellesdon had been enjoying a family day out at Harlow Town Park in Essex when the inflatable was blown away, the court was told.

Tracy Ayling QC, opening the prosecution, said Summer was with her father, Lee Grant, and other family members at Thurstons Fun Fair on Easter Saturday in 2016, and that Storm Katie was expected to arrive by Easter Monday.

“While Summer was in the bouncy castle, it blew away from its moorings, bounced 300 metres down a hill; having hit a tree, it came to rest,” said Ms Ayling.

Summer was rescued from inside the bouncy castle and taken to hospital but died from her injuries.

Ms Ayling said Summer’s father had heard a scream before he started to run after it.

Witnesses described seeing the bouncy castle “cartwheeling in the air, cartwheeling down a hill and only stopping when it hit a fence”.

Ms Ayling said William Thurston was among those who chased the bouncy castle as it blew away and, when he went to help Summer, it appeared “she was very badly injured and struggling to breathe”.

Giving evidence in court on Tuesday, Mr Grant said: “I just heard my mum scream ‘no’ and within seconds it blew away.

He continued: “It was 30 to 50ft in the air and just rolling down the field, just rolling and rolling.

“I couldn’t find her. I couldn’t find the entrance to the bouncy castle as it had deflated by the time it reached the end.”

In a statement issued by Summer’s mother Cara Blackie earlier this week, she 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.”

The trial continues.

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