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Theme park fined after girl suffers 'life-changing' injuries

Chessington World of Adventures was today sentenced for safety failings that led to a four-year-old girl suffering life-changing head injuries when she fell from a raised walkway while queuing for a ride.

The youngster, from Kent, fell nearly four metres while waiting in line for the Tomb Blaster ride with her family at the theme park in Surrey on 7 June 2012. She suffered a fractured skull, bleeding to the brain and broken ribs and was in hospital for a month. She still needs extensive rehabilitation treatment and specialist support.

The walkway area where the girl fell

Chessington World of Adventures Operations Ltd., of Market Close, Poole, Dorset, was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £21,614 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and prosecuted Chessington World of Adventures Operations Ltd after finding the girl had fallen through a gap in a wooden fence.

A hearing at Guildford Crown Court heard HSE had identified that a rotting paling in the fence had fallen out on the morning of the incident and that the whole fence showed evidence of serious weakening.

The gap in the fence

After the sentencing, investigating HSE inspector Karen Morris said: “This was a disastrous and horrifying incident for the child and her parents. They had travelled from their home in Kent for a fun day out together at this well-known attraction only to find themselves hours later in an intensive care ward with their daughter.

– HSE inspector Karen Morris

Teenager charged with Guildford attempted murder

A teenager has been charged with attempted murder following an incident in Guildford in October.

Officers were called to an address in Cranley Road at around 8.10pm on Monday, 13 October following a report that a man had been stabbed.

The victim, a man in his 20s, was taken to St Georges Hospital in Tooting for treatment to his injuries which were described as life threatening. He has since been discharged.

On Friday, 19 December a teenager was arrested in connection with this incident.

The following day a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged with attempted murder.


Guildford candidates in Twitter challenge

MP’s Questions will be coming to Guildford on Wednesday 5 November at 1pm.

The National Union of Students have challenged the candidates who want to be Guildford’s next MP to answer 10 questions from students live on Twitter.

Labour’s Richard Wilson and the Conservative’s Anne Milton will be going head-to-head in 140 characters or fewer.

Students and young people have been let down by the Coalition government. This debate will give them the chance to compare candidates and force us to address the issues which matter to them.

Twitter can be an unforgiving medium so I am pleased that Anne Milton, the current MP, is brave enough to take part. Democracy is under threat in this country due to public disillusionment with politicians.

This challenge is one step towards bringing politicians closer to the public so I relish the opportunity.

– Richard Wilson

The questions will be tweeted to both candidates on the NUS’s account @NUSUK and their answers will be retweeted there too. The hashtag #GenerationVote is used.

Police appeal after Guildford road rage assault

Police are appealing for witnesses to an assault near the bus station on Commercial Road, Guildford.

The incident happened at around 4.40pm on Thursday 30 October as the victim, driving a blue Peugeot was waiting in a line of stationary traffic. It appears that an argument occurred about lane blocking between the victim and the drivers of two separate vans. As the victim got out of his car to speak to the drivers he was assaulted by both of them. The victim managed to break away and both men then got back in their vans and drove off.

The victim sustained bruising to his face and ribs as well as a cut lip and attended the Royal Surrey Hospital.

One of the suspects is described as around 5ft 7” tall, with dark brown hair and blue eyes. He was wearing an orange high visibility jacket, a hoodie, grey tracksuit bottoms and sandy coloured boots.

Jury out in shotgun murders trial

The jury has retired in the trial of an elderly dog breeder charged with murdering his partner and her daughter.

John Lowe

John Lowe, 82, is accused of deliberately shooting 66-year-old Christine Lee and her daughter Lucy Lee, 40, with a legally-held shotgun he normally used for killing rats at his property near Farnham, Surrey in February.

His trial at Guildford Crown Court heard that Lowe told police after the shooting that he had "put down" the women after they had been "giving me s*** for weeks".

But giving evidence, farmer Lowe told the jury that Christine was shot accidentally in a struggle over the double-barrelled weapon when she tried to stop him going to put down some dogs, and that Lucy was accidentally shot twice a short time afterwards.

Lowe denies two counts of murder and one of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life. The trial continues.


Appeal for witnesses after man stabbed in house in Guildford

Police appeal for help Credit: Surrey Police

Detectives in Surrey are appealing for the public's help following a serious assault on a man in Guildford. Surrey Police received a report of a man being stabbed at an address in Cranley Road. The victim, in his 20s, was taken by ambulance to St George's Hospital in Tooting where he remains in a serious but stable condition. His injuries are said to be life threatening.

The attacker is described as a black man who was wearing dark clothing and basketball trainers. It is believed that he is over 6ft tall. House-to-house enquiries are being carried out in the local area.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Preston, from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said: "It is vital we catch whoever was responsible as soon as possible and I am appealing for anyone who was in the area yesterday evening between 6pm and 9pm to come forward. Although the investigation is still in the early stages it is believed to be an isolated incident. The local Safer Neighbourhood Team will be working with local residents and providing reassurance patrols whilst there will be an increased police presence in the area."

Anyone who can assist detectives with their investigation is asked to contact Surrey Police on 101 quoting reference 45140086493. The independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Guildford pub bombing remembered - 40 years on

A service is being held today, on the 40th anniversary Credit: PA

A service of commemoration is being held today to mark the 40th anniversary of the Guildford pub bombings.

Five people were killed and scores more injured when the IRA detonated bombs at two pubs in the town centre on 5 October 1974.

The Horse and Groom pub in the Surrey town was targeted first, before a second bomb exploded in the nearby Seven Stars.

A plaque in Quakers' Acre names the four soldiers and a civilian who died.

They were Paul Craig, Guardsmen William Forsyth and John Hunter of the Scots Guards, and Privates Ann Hamilton and Caroline Slater of the Women's Royal Army Corps.

David Elms, the mayor of Guildford, will be taking part in the commemoration, which is due to be held at 16:00 in Quakers' Acre.

Poignant memories of the bombing that stunned the nation

It was a crime which, even at the height of the IRA troubles. stunned the nation. Four soldiers and a civilian were killed when a bomb exploded at a pub popular with soldiers. Sixty-five others were injured at the Horse and Groom in North Street.

It was packed with troops from nearby Pirbright Barracks enjoying a Saturday night out. A second bomb at another pub, the Seven Stars in Swan Lane, also exploded. Fortunately it had been evacuated and no one was seriously hurt.

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the atrocity. The events of that night are still etched in the memory of those who were there.

Our correspondent Cary Johnston has been talking to some of them.

Remembering the Guildford pub bombing - 40 years on

Guildford pub bombing Credit: Press Association

This Sunday marks exactly forty years since the IRA detonated two bombs at two pubs in Guildford killing five people and injuring many more. The pubs were targeted because they were popular with British Army personnal stationed nearby. A service of commemoration is being held at 4pm, outdoors in Quakers’ Acre, in North Street, next to the Guildford Library and opposite the building which was formerly the Horse and Groom, one of the pubs attacked that evening. The other pub was the Seven Stars in Swan Lane.

There is a plaque in Quakers’ Acre which names the five people who were killed: Paul Craig; Guardsmen William Forsyth and John Hunter of the Scots Guards; and Privates Ann Hamilton and Caroline Slater of the Women’s Royal Army Corps. The service will remember the five who died and those injured, pay tribute to the courageous work of the emergency services and express a longing for peace and reconciliation.

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