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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
Oakwood inquest delay frustration
Hydro
The Hydro ride at Oakwood stands at 121ft tall
A coroner is frustrated over delays in holding an inquest into the death of a teenager at a west Wales theme park.

Hayley Williams, 16, from Pontypool, fell from the Hydro ride at Oakwood Park in Pembrokeshire 18 months ago.

Michael Howells said her family needed to know the facts about her death but the case was on hold until a decision was made if anyone would be prosecuted.

The police investigation had finished but officers were awaiting advice from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Hayley fell 100ft from the ride, which has since reopened, in April 2004.

Mr Howells, the coroner for Pembrokeshire, had written to Dyfed-Powys Police asking what stage the investigation was at.

Hayley Williams
Hayley Williams died at Oakwood Park 18 months ago

At a hearing on Thursday he was told officers had completed their investigation.

But police were waiting for advice from the CPS over whether manslaughter or corporate manslaughter charges could be brought.

Mr Howells told the court: "In circumstances where there is going to be a possible case for the prosecution of the three major offences - murder, manslaughter or causing death by dangerous driving - until I know whether they are going to take proceedings I can't hold the inquest.

Safety features

"I'm conscious of the fact it's 18 months since Hayley lost her life and I'm anxious that the inquest should be held but my hands are tied.

"It's unfortunate to say the least that the family can't draw a line under it by finding out the full facts."

The ride was closed following Hayley's death but re-opened at the start of this year when additional safety features were added.

Standing 121ft tall, the Hydro ride is just 34ft shorter than the Niagara Falls.

Its 24-seater boat drops down a near-vertical chute into a plunge pool at 50 miles an hour.

Managers said following changes recommended by the Health and Safety Executive, the ride, which reopened in March, was "absolutely foolproof and fail safe".


SEE ALSO:
Oakwood inquiry looks at US death
15 Jun 04 |  South West Wales
Tributes to 'talented' Hayley
16 Apr 04 |  Wales


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