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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 November 2006, 16:28 GMT
Fine for safety breach theme park
Salma Saleem
Salma Saleem fell from the wheel
A theme park firm has been fined 80,000 for breaching health and safety laws over the death of a teenager.

Salma Saleem, of Nelson, Lancashire, who had Down's syndrome, fell off the Ferris wheel at Gulliver's World in Warrington, Cheshire, in 2002.

Gulliver's World managing director Julie Dalton entered guilty pleas at Chester Crown Court on two charges.

The firm was fined 70,000 for failing to ensure a person's safety and 10,000 for not carrying out risk assessments.

Judge Roger Dutton said there were "serious failures" and "a degree of unacceptable complacency".

The court heard the 15-year-old wanted to ride alongside her mother but the attendant felt she was too large and directed her to a different gondola.

Gulliver's World
The firm said its health and safety procedures had been changed

Her mother tried to protest but neither she nor Salma spoke fluent English. Salma fell about 21ft (6m) from the ride.

Mark Harris, prosecuting on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said there was no evidence that Salma's death was caused directly by health and safety breaches, particularly as the lap bar was found to be securely locked after the accident.

But he said there were several safety failures which could have caused a similar accident.

They included fitting safety bar locking mechanisms which were intended for use on domestic doors, failing to lubricate the locks properly and using a wrongly-shaped coach key to open the locks.

The court also heard the firm followed a "replace when broken" policy on locks, rather than checking for wear and tear and failed to record a history of faulty locks.

The HSE inspectors also found the timber frame of the Ferris wheel, built in 1996, was in a poor state of repair and footplates were loose.

Dominic Nolan QC, defending, accepted there were some flaws in safety procedures and said the firm had spent about 400,000 on health and safety since the accident.

He said: "Here is a case where the message has demonstrably got home."

The firm will also pay 90,000 in court costs.

Salma's brother, Mohammed Raza Saleem, said he hoped the entire theme park industry would learn from the case.

Park directors admit breaching health and safety laws

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09 Jul 04 |  Merseyside
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08 Jul 04 |  Merseyside
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07 Jul 04 |  Manchester
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15 Jul 02 |  England

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