Page last updated at 10:49 GMT, Friday, 6 March 2009

No retrial for Dreamspace creator

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

The creator of an artwork which blew away in a County Durham park killing two women will not face a retrial.

Maurice Agis, 77, from east London, was charged with manslaughter following the incident involving his Dreamspace sculpture in July 2006.

He was found guilty last month of breaching safety rules but the jury was discharged after failing to reach a verdict on the manslaughter charge.

On Friday the Crown Prosecution Service said it would not ask for a retrial.

Claire Furmedge, 38, and Elizabeth Collings, 68, died and 27 people were injured when the inflatable artwork broke free from its moorings at Riverside Park in Chester-le-Street.

Claire Furmedge and Elizabeth Collings
Claire Furmedge and Elizabeth Collings died at Riverside Park

Agis, of Kirton Gardens, Bethnal Green, will be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on 26 March for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974.

Chester-le-Street District Council, which helped stage the event, and Brouhaha International Ltd, which put up and maintained Dreamspace, had earlier pleaded guilty to safety breaches and will be sentenced with him.

David Scutt, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "We carefully examined the evidence that the jury had heard and decided that due to the manner in which certain crucial prosecution evidence came out at trial, there is no longer a realistic prospect of conviction in respect of those charges.

"We have offered to meet with the families of Elizabeth Collings and Claire Furmedge and we continue to extend our sympathy for their loss."

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