“Got Off Lightly” – Anger at Sentence for 270 Injuries at Trampoline Park in Chester

A pair of young entrepreneurs have managed to escape jail time in what’s been described as a “light” sentence by one of their victims after 270 customers were injured at a trampoline park just two months after it opened.

Directors of Flip Out Chester Sentenced

David Elliot Shuttleworth and Matthew Melling, former directors of Flip Out Chester, faced sentencing following an alarmingly high quantity of injuries at the trampoline park in the space of just two months.

Flip Out Chester, dubbed the world’s largest adventure park, opened its doors on December 10, 2016, under the direction of Shuttleworth and Melling, who narrowly avoided jail time.

Concerns Raised by A&E Staff

The case unfolded after staff at a local Accident & Emergency department expressed worry about the increasing number of injuries sustained by individuals visiting Flip Out Chester.

11 people suffered severe spinal injuries, leading to long-term health issues in the space of just two months, including broken backs that could potentially paralyze an individual for life. 

Alarming Amount of “Knee-to-Face” Injuries

123 visitors experienced “knee-to-face” injuries, causing dental and facial damage and others even suffered broken ribs, sprained ankles and sprained wrists.

By February 3, 2017, a mere two months after opening, 270 people had sustained injuries prompting customers to ask how the operation was allowed to be accessed by the public for as long as two months.

The rising number of injuries prompted the Countess of Chester Hospital to send a delegation of clinicians to investigate the safety protocols at Flip Out Chester.

Tower Jump Incidents

Many injuries occurred during the Tower Jump activity, where participants jumped from a 17-foot drop into a foam pit, with one injury from the tower even involving a member of trained staff. 

Numerous customers, including children, suffered life-changing injuries, leading to spinal problems and the need for surgical intervention.

The court learned that despite daily injuries, there was a “cavalier” attitude toward safety measures at the trampoline park, arguing that the owners knew about the issues just a day after opening and continued to pursue the business. 

Victims Report Lifelong Suffering

Victims in court reported long-lasting psychological trauma, and “life-changing” spinal injuries and many have had to deal with the reality of using a wheelchair for the rest of their lives.

Shuttleworth and Melling pleaded guilty to a single count of negligence under health and safety law during an earlier hearing.

Judge Michael Leeming argued that the sentence was based on negligence rather than deliberate acts or cost-cutting, arguing they took no steps to minimize risks or investigate accidents.

Shuttleworth’s Sentencing Outcome

Shuttleworth received a £6,500 fine and 250 hours of unpaid community service, coupled with £50,000 in costs. 

His business partner, Melling was fined £6,300, ordered to complete 250 hours of community service, and pay £10,000 in costs.

Despite the fines, the judge recognized how families were probably hoping for a larger sentencing, saying the punishment was “less than many people hoped for and many people think you deserve,” talking to the pair.

The fines imposed on Shuttleworth and Melling are directed toward covering the £250,000 prosecution costs and council investigation expenses.

Personal Testimony of a Victim

Louise Wright from Liverpool, who suffered a broken back, expressed the enduring impact on her life, arguing “I can’t do anywhere near what I used to do. I have to work from home full-time,” revealing she’s also on medication to ease the suffering.

Wright said that she believed the sentencing was very light and the pair deserved more, “I feel like they got off lightly,” she admitted, “If they were actually sorry they’d do an awful lot more,” she said.

The case has shown how important proper safety checks are when young entrepreneurs start businesses, but many admit this pair were lucky given they avoided jail time.

More Articles Like This…

Broken Britain: 12 Reasons Behind the UK’s Decline

Say the Unsayable: 10 Occasions When Farage Spoke His Mind About Britain

The post “Got Off Lightly” – Anger at Sentence for 270 Injuries at Trampoline Park in Chester first appeared on Pulse365 Limited

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Tatyana Vyc.

Leave a Comment