Fairground ride owner fined for speed breach

NewsA fairground operator has been fined for exceeding a Twister-type ride’s recommended speed limit by 50%, causing injury.

Patrick McGeough was also found guilty of failing to ensure the correct restraint of riders, and was fined more than £3,000.

A nine-year-old old girl was ejected from the ride in 2012, which was accompanying the Hollowell Steam Rally and Heavy Horse Show fireworks display.

She suffered severe internal and external bruising when she impacted against the ride’s perimeter fencing.

Northampton Crown Court heard on Thursday how McGeough had set the ride to spin at 16 revolutions per minute (rpm), when the recommended limit was 11 rpm.

‘Bar flew open’

Ben Mills, prosecuting, also said: “Both girls got on the ride and pulled down the safety barrier themselves, but no one came to check it or secure the secondary safety measure, a chain to stop the bar coming loose.

“The defendant then switched it on at 16 revolutions per minute, when the maximum speed recommended is 11.

“The bar flew open and the child was thrown out and flung as far as the metal safety barrier around the ride itself, causing it to fall over.”

McGeough was ordered to pay a £1,500 fine, £1,500 court costs and a compulsory victim surcharge of £120.

‘Neglect with profit in mind’

Recorder John Butterfield QC said: “It was borderline miraculous that there were no broken bones or more serious injuries.

“Many of the secondary safety measures could not have been employed and the speed was substantially in excess. These things could have easily been avoided.

“You made the speed faster to make the ride more attractive to customers and the safety checks were not done properly in order to cut down the time between rides.

“Your neglect was a conscious decision with profit in mind.”

Health and Safety Executive inspector Neil Ward said after the case: “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.”