Here’s a recent situation which set my teeth on edge:
Mackenzie Croxford-Cook, 14 and from Deal in Kent, died on August 3 this year after entering a fairground in Pencester Gardens in Dover before it opened to the public.
He and a number of friends gained access to the fun fair and used the dodgems and trampolines before the teen was trapped and fatally injured on a ‘superstar’ machine.
So far, so good: irresponsible / lawless teens go exploring, start fucking around on equipment that in normal times would be responsibly operated and controlled, and find out the ultimate cost of trespass and said behavior. Sad, but teenagers do this kind of stuff all the time (although not always with a tragic end), and we all feel for the grieving parents of said hooligans etc. etc.
Here’s what blows the cuff off my arm:
The inquest into his death was due to conclude on Monday at County Hall in Maidstone, but area coroner Katrina Hepburn adjourned the case so further information could be gathered.
The coroner would like to question ride operator, Luke Shufflebottom, as well as Dover District Council which owns the land.
Ummm what for? Was said funfair locked up? Were signs posted which said, “Warning: Equipment Should Not Be Operated Except By Fairground Employees”, or something like that? If so, then we all move on — if not, then fines can be issued and so on.
Ms Hepburn wants to have ‘all of the information’ needed to both conclude the inquest and potentially issue a Prevention of Future Deaths (PFD) report, if necessary, due to any failings or shortcomings which could have contributed to the death. She explained: ‘Mackenzie and his colleagues had access to this ride outside its hours of operation with such tragic consequences. I believe there is missing evidence looking at the fencing of this ride and questions about access to this location for these teenagers on that morning. Mackenzie was trapped in a fairground ride but I don’t have evidence about how that location was being fenced and monitored at that hour in the morning.’
Errrr no. You’re the fucking coroner. Your responsibility begins and ends with determining the cause of death. If there’s any kind of culpability to be sought, that’s actually the job of the police to determine — assuming they’re not too busy tracking down and arresting perpetrators of hateful online texts, that is.
And excuse me, but it is not the responsibility of the fairground operator to have security constantly patrolling the (locked) premises just in case a bunch of thrill-seeking, irresponsible punks happen to come calling.
I’m heartily sick of criminal behavior being excused because there weren’t a thousand warning signs posted or a security guard stationed at five-yard intervals just in case some scrote feels like breaking the law. A fence, a locked gate and a warning sign should be all that’s necessary to prevent you from accidentally getting hurt. After that, you’re on your own and if bad things happen it’s your fault, and your problem.
Some people, such as the above coroner, are no doubt going to disagree with me, but I don’t care. They’re wrong, and I’m right.