Page last updated at 14:08 GMT, Monday, 26 January 2009

Man denies artwork death charge

Maurice Agis
Maurice Agis denies all charges relating to the incident in July 2006

The creator of an inflatable artwork which flipped over in a County Durham park and killed two women has appeared in court.

Artist Maurice Agis, from east London, who conceived the Dreamspace sculpture, is accused of manslaughter and a breach of the Health and Safety Act.

The 76-year-old, of Kirton Gardens, Bethnal Green, denies all charges.

Thirteen people were also hurt when the artwork lifted into the air in Chester-le-Street in July 2006.

The charges followed a lengthy police investigation into the tragedy in which Claire Furmedge, 38, from Chester-le-Street and 68-year-old Elizabeth Collings, from Seaham, died.

The jury was sworn in at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday, and shown a scale model of Dreamspace which was brought into court in a wooden box.

No evidence was heard, and the jury was told to return to hear the opening of the case on Wednesday morning.

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