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Inquest into death of Ava-May Littleboy could be delayed until March

PUBLISHED: 12:14 12 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:14 12 November 2019

Ava-May Littleboy, who died after being thrown from a trampoline in Gorleston. Picture: Courtesy of the Littleboy Family

Ava-May Littleboy, who died after being thrown from a trampoline in Gorleston. Picture: Courtesy of the Littleboy Family

Courtesy of the Littleboy Family

An inquest into the death of a three-year-old girl who died when an inflatable trampoline exploded could be delayed until next March.

Flowers and toys left in memory of Ava May Littleboy at Gorleston beach. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFlowers and toys left in memory of Ava May Littleboy at Gorleston beach. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ava-May Littleboy, from Somersham, near Ipswich, died after being thrown from the inflatable last summer.

The inquest had been scheduled to take place early next year but Norfolk Coroner's Court heard on Tuesday (November 12) that more time would be needed for the disclosure and consideration of documents.

Ava-May's parents attended the pre-inquest review where senior coroner for Norfolk Jacqueline Lake said she would remove the inquest from the list for its original hearing date of January 13, when instead there will be another pre-inquest hearing to review progress.

The coroner indicated there were dates available in February and March when the inquest could be heard.

Norfolk's Senior Coroner Jacqueline Lake. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYNorfolk's Senior Coroner Jacqueline Lake. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

The hearing was told officers for Great Yarmouth Borough Council would sift through two crates of documents before disclosing material to solicitors for Johnson Funfairs Ltd, the company which operated the equipment.

At an earlier hearing, on September 19, the coroner proposed to look at the company's working practices.

The scope of the inquest, Ms Lake said, would include the acquisition of the inflatable and risk assessment with regard to its use, as well as the responsibility and roles of people working at Johnson Funfairs Ltd.

A man and a woman, both in their 40s, were arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter after the little girl's death, on July 1 last year. Police later said after discussions with the Crown Prosecution Service they would not be continuing with the case and the pair would not face prosecution.

The Health and Safety Executive has still to decide whether it will bring charges.

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At the opening of the inquest last year, the medical cause of Ava-May's death was given as a traumatic head injury.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The tragedy lead to an outpouring of grief in Gorleston with well-wishers leaving soft toys, flowers and messages of condolence at the seaside play area.

Today the play area is devoid of activity, and there are no plans for anything to replace it.

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