Alton Towers operator Merlin Attractions Operations Limited (Merlin) was today fined £5 million having pleaded guilty, at a hearing in April, to breaches of health and safety regulations that led to the crash on its Smiler rollercoaster in June 2015.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued proceedings against Merlin at the Stafford Crown Court, after sixteen people were seriously injured in the accident.
The sentencing hearing was the first time the victims learnt the full extent of Merlin’s failures. The HSE found there was a catastrophic failure to carry out risk assessment, inadequate training, supervision and management, and a flawed, unsafe system of work.
Paul Paxton, Partner at Stewarts, who is representing eight of the victims, said:
“Merlin’s initial defence was human error – implying that on the day, a person made a poor judgement call. Yet the reality of the situation, having heard the full case, is that there was a catalogue of failures culminating in the tragedy that day.”
On behalf of the families, Paul Paxton added:
“This has never been about retribution; this is about learning from what happened and ensuring that it doesn’t happen again at any theme park. No amount of punishment is ever going to compensate for what these victims and their families have endured. The families would like once again to express their gratitude to the HSE for the manner in which they have dealt with this case, for their thoroughness and their support throughout.”
Paul made a statement outside the Stafford Crown Court, which you can view here:
BBC Stoke & Staffordshire: Alton Towers operator Merlin fined £5m over Smiler crash
Note to Editors
Separate from the conclusion of the HSE prosecution today, Stewarts Law continues to pursue a claim for damages on behalf of those seriously injured in this accident.
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