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Lightwater Valley sentenced after girl’s rollercoaster injury

25 May 2017

Lightwater Valley Theme Park and a contractor have been fined after a five-year-old was injured when her leg was trapped while on a rollercoaster.

Lucy Hibbert of Dunedin, New Zealand, was on holiday with her family when the incident took place on 5 June 2012 on a visit to the theme park in North Yorkshire.

York Crown Court heard that while on the Ladybird ride, Lucy’s right leg and foot came out the carriage and became trapped between the platform edge and the carriage as the ride returned to its starting point.

The carriage advanced the full length of the platform while Lucy’s leg remained trapped. She suffered severe injuries to her foot and leg which included ligament, cartilage and nerve damage.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Mr David Geary was contracted by Lightwater Valley to carry out an assessment on the Ladybird rollercoaster and failed to adequately identify the risk of entrapment between the carriage and the platform.

Lightwater Valley Attractions Ltd of Merseyside, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,000.

David Geary of Taffs Well, Cardiff was found guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,500.

After the hearing, Lucy’s father, Paul Hibbert, said: “Lucy has undergone extensive physiotherapy to help strengthen and heal her foot after the second round of reconstructive surgeries.

Her foot is still lumpy and scarred and is a size and a half smaller than her other foot so we need to pack her shoes with tissues so they don’t slip off.”

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Kate Dixon said: “The company failed to ensure that members of the public were not exposed to such risks. The possibility of limbs being trapped in this way on the Ladybird ride was foreseeable and should have been dealt with properly by both parties.

“Following the start of the HSE investigation, an Improvement Notice was served on Lightwater Valley Attractions Ltd and it made a number of changes to the ride to reduce the risk of entrapment.”

Guidance on safe practices within the fairground industry can be found in HSG175:

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at:
  3. HSE news releases are available at


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