Page last updated at 20:27 GMT, Monday, 7 July 2008 21:27 UK

Theme park's guilt in ride death

Hayley Williams
Hayley Williams was visiting the park with family and friends

A theme park has admitted breaching health and safety laws over the death of a teenage visitor more than four years ago.

Hayley Williams, 16, from Pontypool, Torfaen, died when she fell 100ft from the 1.7m Hydro Ride at Oakwood in Pembrokeshire in April 2004.

Oakwood Leisure admitted a breach of the Health and Safety Act 1974 before magistrates at Haverfordwest.

The court adjourned the case to Swansea Crown Court for sentencing on 8 August.

The prosecution is being brought by the Health and Safety Executive.

Oakwood was charged with failing to ensure the safety of the water ride's passengers after the death in April 2004.

Lagoon

In May, at Haverfordwest Magistrates' Court, lawyers for the company pleaded not guilty to the charge.

In a brief hearing at the same court on Monday the company's legal representatives said it now admitted the single charge.

Sunday school teacher Ms Williams was taken for a treat to the theme park by her parents and had been staying at a nearby caravan park.

The court heard how she and her friends had been on a variety of rides but had left the Hydro ride until the end because they knew they would get wet.

Hydro water ride
Ms Williams died following a fall from the Hydro Ride

But Ms Williams was thrown from the boat as it began its 50mph almost vertical descent into the lagoon below.

She was flown by helicopter to hospital but never regained consciousness.

A four-day jury inquest into her death at Haverfordwest two years ago recorded a neutral narrative verdict.

Ms Williams' parents spoke of their bitter disappointment at the time that the coroner had specifically ruled out unlawful killing as a verdict.

The Hydro ride was shut down for 11 months after the tragedy.

But it was reopened after new shoulder straps were built into the ride after recommendations from the Health and Safety Executive.




SEE ALSO
Trial over theme park ride death
22 May 08 |  South West Wales
Oakwood charged over ride death
22 Feb 08 |  South West Wales

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