Drayton Manor: £1m fine following death

Drayton Manor

The legal entity that formerly operated Drayton Manor has been issued a £1 million fine following a girl’s death in 2017.

11-year-old Evha Jannath fell into the Splash Canyon rapid ride’s water during a school trip on 9 May that year.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) concluded that there was defective signage warning against standing up, as well as only partial CCTV covering the ride’s course.

During the sentencing hearing yesterday, Stafford Crown Court heard that there were four other instance of riders falling into the water between 2011 and 2013.

27 days before the incident, a meeting was held in which staff raised concerns about the ride’s signage, as well as a sprinkler system which was viewed as encouraging guests to stand up on the ride.

An investigation concluded that Evha was ejected from the ride when the boat impacted a wooden deflector plate, which is normal during operation.

The Splash Canyon ride has not operated since the 2017 incident, but is currently under refurbishment.

Company changes

Drayton Manor Park Limited has been in administration since last year, despite the Tamworth theme park itself being taken over by the French operator Looping Group immediately afterward.

The judge at Stafford Crown Court today said there was “no prospect of the fine being paid” for these reasons.

This has caused considerable controversy as the majority of the park’s assets remain, and the park’s family director William Bryan immediately moved over to the new company following the park’s takeover.

At the time of takeover last summer, Looping Group said that the park generated revenues of about £30 million.

Richard Matthews QC, representing the in-administration company, told the court that the park had fully co-operated with the HSE investigation and had no previous convictions.

It previously admitted a breach under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act.