Owner of inflatable trampoline that exploded and killed Ava-May Littleboy, 3, is jailed

The owner of an inflatable trampoline that exploded, killing a three-year-old girl, has been jailed for six months.

Ava-May Littleboy was thrown into the air after the trampoline burst on Gorleston beach in Norfolk, with a witness saying she went the "height of a house", Chelmsford magistrates court was told.

The girl, from Suffolk, suffered serious head injuries and died in hospital in July 2018.

Pascal Bates, for Great Yarmouth Borough Council, which brought the prosecution, said witnesses described her being thrown up to 40ft (12m) in the air, with one saying she went "higher than the surrounding buildings".

Mr Bates said that a second girl, aged nine, who had been on the trampoline suffered "no significant injuries".

Curt Johnson, the owner of the inflatable trampoline, showed no reaction after he was sentenced.

He was disqualified from being a company director for five years and his company, Johnsons Funfair Ltd, was fined £20,000.

Johnson, 52, was also ordered to pay combined costs of £300,000 to the Health and Safety Executive and Great Yarmouth Borough Council, who brought the prosecution.

Both Johnson and the company for which he acted as operations manager had entered guilty pleas to two health and safety offences.

They admitted to importing an inflatable trampoline that they failed to ensure was safe and both pleaded guilty to failing to ensure people not under their employment were not exposed to risks.

District Judge Christopher Williams said Johnson was "wilfully blind to the risk" and that the inflatable "should not have been in use".

He said: "This is a case that's of such seriousness that I have to conclude a deterrent sentence is necessary.

"Ultimately a child unnecessarily lost their life because of failures on your part to ensure you had appropriate risk assessments in place."

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Ava-May's father, Nathan Rowe, said after the verdict that it was the "right decision" and a "massive weight lifted from our shoulders" when Johnson was jailed.

"Justice is being done," Mr Rowe said.

After Ava-May's death, her family had paid tribute to the girl saying: "Her infectious laugh and smile could light up even the darkest of rooms."