Page last updated at 16:49 GMT, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Artist guilty over safety charge


CCTV of the Dreamspace sculpture

An artist has been found guilty of breaching health and safety rules after his inflatable sculpture blew away in a County Durham park, killing two women.

Maurice Agis, from east London, had denied the charge as well as two counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

The jury at Newcastle Crown Court has not yet reached a verdict over the manslaughter charges.

Claire Furmedge, 38, and Elizabeth Collings, 68, died when the Dreamspace sculpture broke free from its moorings.

The incident happened in Chester-le-Street in July 2006.

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

Among the 27 people injured was a then three-year-old girl, whose life was saved by the prompt action of a passing anaesthetist and an air ambulance crew which flew her to hospital.

Mr Agis, 77 and of Kirton Gardens in Bethnal Green, was found guilty on Tuesday of one count of breaching the Health and Safety Act.

The judge at Newcastle Crown Court gave a majority direction to the jury over the health and safety charge.

The jury was then sent home to begin a third day of deliberation on Wednesday.

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