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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 July, 2004, 18:26 GMT 19:26 UK
Ferris death girl 'was locked in'
Salma Saleem
Salma was alone in the carriage
The operator of a Ferris wheel where a teenage girl plunged 30ft to her death has denied her safety bar was not in place before her fall.

Salma Saleem, 15, from Lancashire, suffered fatal head injuries at Gulliver's World, Warrington, in 2002.

Paul Delaney told the inquest, which is due to end on Friday, the bar was in place when she got on and said no-one had tampered with it afterwards.

The hearing in Runcorn was told the bar had come loose on previous occasions.

An expert from the Health and Safety Executive told the jury at Runcorn Town Hall that because Salma, who also had Down's Syndrome, was large for her age, the safety bar would have been a tight fit across her stomach.

"It would have been unlikely she would have accidentally fallen over the top of it or slipped underneath it if it had been correctly closed," John Jackson said.

Paul Delaney
Mr Delaney denied the bar had been tampered with after the fall
He added it was possible she could have climbed out, but this would have been "uncomfortable and not easily done".

On Thursday, the inquest heard Salma, who lived in Nelson, was seen "semi-standing" shortly before the fall, which took place in July 2002.

It also heard she had not been allowed to go on the ride in her mother's carriage, despite Mrs Saleem's attempt to explain her daughter's disability.

Giving evidence, Mr Delaney admitted he had previously allowed a large man to ride on the wheel with the bar up, but said this was not true in Selma's case.

He also denied he, or anyone else, closed the bar after the accident.

He was backed by his superior Dave Bickerstaff.

The inquest continues.

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