Funfair worker ‘was checking customers were allowed on trampoline’ inquest hears

Ava-May Littleboy, who died after being thrown from a trampoline in Gorleston. PHOTO: Courtesy of th

Ava-May Littleboy, who died after being thrown from a trampoline in Gorleston. PHOTO: Courtesy of the Littleboy family - Credit: Archant

A funfair worker has told an inquest that an inflatable trampoline exploded, throwing a three-year-old girl to her death, while she had turned away to check with her boss whether customers were allowed to be on it.

Norfolk's new coroner Jacqueline Lake.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Norfolk's new coroner Jacqueline Lake.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Ava-May Littleboy was playing on the attraction when it burst on the beach at Gorleston in Norfolk on July 1 2018.

Witnesses said she was sent tumbling into the air - higher than the height of a house - before landing on her face on the sand.

Ava-May, from Lower Somersham in Suffolk, died in hospital of a head injury.

A witness referred to as Miss B, who was 17 at the time, told the hearing she was the funfair worker who put Ava-May on the trampoline.

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She said that while Ava-May was playing she went to check with Giselle Johnson, director of Johnsons Funfair Limited, that Ava-May was allowed to be on there.

“I wanted to check as I’m not a mistake-y sort of person,” said Miss B. “By the time I had turned around it had... exploded.

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“I just realised I hadn’t got a full-on ‘yes, you can put her on there’. I thought maybe I should ask again, then when I went to it happened.”

She said she had earlier tried to check whether it was allowed and saw someone give a thumbs up, which she “assumed” was Mrs Johnson.

The inquest had been earlier told that a funfair worker tried to catch Ava-May while she was tumbling in the air.

Norfolk’s senior coroner Jacqueline Lake told Miss B: “What happened on that day was not your responsibility. I want to say that as I gather you have been upset by it.

“Thanks for your help on the day as I gather you did try to save Ava-May, so thank you for that.”

Miss B, giving evidence by Skype, said the trampoline’s owner, Curt Johnson, left the site while the trampoline was “partly inflated”.

“I pestered him to leave,” she said. “I told him he could trust us to put it all together and he could go and set the other business up (in Great Yarmouth).”

She said Mr Johnson told another funfair worker, Mr A, who was 15 at the time, to “just make sure you sort out the pump, switch it off and make sure it’s all set out”.

She said she knew nobody was allowed on to the trampoline if the fan was connected to it.

Miss B said she went to see Mr and Mrs Johnson at their house in the days after the accident.

“I went round, I was upset, apologising,” she said. “I don’t really know why I done what I done that day.

“I don’t know why I didn’t 100pc check about putting anyone on the trampoline or why I didn’t check the pump was still in.

“They said ‘it’s not your fault’, but you blame yourself anyway.”

The inquest, being heard by a jury, continues.

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