Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 16:31 UK

Trial set in artwork deaths case

Maurice Agis
Mr Agis also faces a charge under health and safety laws

An artist whose inflatable sculpture flipped into the air and killed two women is to face trial next year.

Maurice Agis, 76, was charged with manslaughter by gross negligence after his Dreamspace sculpture overturned in County Durham in July 2006.

Elizabeth Collings, 68, and Claire Furmedge, 38, died when the creation was blown 100ft into the air after breaking free from its moorings.

A trial date of 26 January was set at Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday.

Another 13 people were hurt when the artwork was lifted by a gust of wind at the Riverside Park at Chester-le-Street on 23 July 2006.

Scene of sculpture accident at Chester-le-Street
Two women died in the Dreamspace tragedy

Mr Agis, of Bethnal Green, London, also faces a charge under health and safety laws.

Liverpool-based promotions company Brouhaha International Ltd and Chester-le-Street District Council have been charged with breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act, in connection with the incident.

The council's director of development services, Tony Galloway, faces a charge on a separate breach of the act.

All charged in connection with the incident are on bail and no party entered pleas at the hearing on Tuesday.

The trial is expected to last up to four weeks.

Man accused of sculpture deaths
13 Feb 08 |  England

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