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Boy denies being asked to keep eye on inflating trampoline before girl’s death, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 17:30 13 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:30 13 March 2020

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

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

Archant

A boy has denied claims that the owner of an inflatable trampoline asked him to keep an eye on the device as it inflated, on the day it exploded and threw a little girl to her death, an inquest heard.

People gather on Gorleston beach to mark the one week anniversary of the tragic event leading to the death of Ava-May Littleboy.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018People gather on Gorleston beach to mark the one week anniversary of the tragic event leading to the death of Ava-May Littleboy. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

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.

The three-year-old, from Lower Somersham in Suffolk, died in hospital of a head injury.

The boy, who was aged 15 at the time he was working at the funfair, denied claims by the trampoline's owner, Curt Johnson, that he had been asked to watch the equipment inflate, and then tell Giselle Johnson, director of Johnsons Funfair Ltd, when it was fully inflated.

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

The child, referred to as Mr A due to a reporting restriction, gave evidence by Skype to Friday's hearing in Norwich.

Norfolk's senior coroner, Jacqueline Lake, said: 'We've heard evidence from Curt that he asked you to keep an eye on the fan onto the trampoline.

'Do you recall that at all?'

Mr A said: 'I didn't hear him say that.'

Asked if he had anything to do with the trampoline on the day of Ava-May's death, he replied: 'No.'

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He said Mr Johnson had left the site 'before any customers came in', adding: 'All I remember him saying is 'I'm now going', and that's it.'

Mr A said he started working at Bounce About after he finished his school exams in about June 2018, and did not have a job title.

'It was more being an assistant,' he said.

He said he was paid £20 cash in hand for a day's work, typically from about 10am to 5pm.

He said he had a training day in which he was shown how to get children on and off the Minions-themed bouncy castle at the site.

Asked if he received any further training after this, he said: 'It was more like telling me if I was going wrong.

'There wasn't a set training.'

He said he remembered seeing Ava-May arrive at Bounce About with her aunt and a friend, and initially served them before handing over to a colleague, as he was unsure of pricing.

He said that after the accident he called Mr Johnson on the phone.

The inquest, being heard by a jury, continues.

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