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Pledge to find answers on first anniversary of Ava-May Littleboy's death

PUBLISHED: 09:18 03 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:18 03 July 2019

Ava-May Littleboy, who died after being thrown from a trampoline in Gorleston. Picture: Courtesy of the Littleboy Family

Ava-May Littleboy, who died after being thrown from a trampoline in Gorleston. Picture: Courtesy of the Littleboy Family

Courtesy of the Littleboy Family

A year after a three-year-old girl died on the sands at Gorleston the wait for answers continues for her bereaved family.

Floral tributes and cuddly toys at the scene where Ava-May Littleboy was thrown from an inflatable trampoline Photo: Liz CoatesFloral tributes and cuddly toys at the scene where Ava-May Littleboy was thrown from an inflatable trampoline Photo: Liz Coates

Ava-May Littleboy, from Somersham, near Ipswich, went to the beach on July 1 last year but never came home after she was thrown from an inflatable trampoline.

She was pronounced dead at the scene - the tragedy casting a bleak shadow over last year's heat-wave summer.

Local people said they were heartbroken, tagging the tragedy "unthinkable", many translating their upset into a shrine of flowers and toys left at the scene.

Today the play area is devoid of activity, and there are no plans for anything to replace it.

Police confirmed in March that two people - a man and a woman in their 40s from Great Yarmouth, arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter - would not face prosecution.

Floral tributes and cuddly toys at the scene where Ava-May Littleboy was thrown from an inflatable trampoline Photo: Liz CoatesFloral tributes and cuddly toys at the scene where Ava-May Littleboy was thrown from an inflatable trampoline Photo: Liz Coates

Great Yarmouth Borough Council is now reviewing the case on health and safety grounds.

Graham Plant, deputy leader, said his thoughts were with Ava-May's family on the first anniversary of her death.

One month on, the flowers and toys left in memory of Ava May Littleboy at Gorleston beach. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYOne month on, the flowers and toys left in memory of Ava May Littleboy at Gorleston beach. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

"It will be a sad day. It's a very emotional time," he said.

"We are working hard to make sure it does not happen again and we are not taking inflatables on the beach any more at Gorleston.

People gather on Gorleston beach to mark the one week anniversary of the tragic event leading to the death of Ava-May Littleboy.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018People gather on Gorleston beach to mark the one week anniversary of the tragic event leading to the death of Ava-May Littleboy. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

"It is the responsibilty of the owner (of inflatable equipment) to make sure it is operated in a safe manner, what we do is make sure they have done all that in accordance with the manufacturers guidelines.

"At the end of the day when something goes wrong there's a process and it starts to bring out all the things that could, would, should and must be done.

People gather on Gorleston beach to mark the one week anniversary of the tragic event leading to the death of Ava-May Littleboy.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018People gather on Gorleston beach to mark the one week anniversary of the tragic event leading to the death of Ava-May Littleboy. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

"If it is human error we will find out about it."

In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: "Our thoughts and sympathies remain with the family and friends of Ava-May Littleboy.

"The council is continuing to speak with the family to keep them abreast of progress, and they understand the process and considerations.

"Following the conclusion of the police investigation, the case has been passed onto the borough council, which is reviewing the evidence with a view to prosecuting under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

"The police have provided a significant quantity of evidence.

"While the council aims to complete the investigation as soon as practically possible, it is important for officers to take the time necessary to review this evidence thoroughly, liaising with the police and the Health and Safety Executive, and to seek to gather any further evidence needed."

Following the tragedy, the council wrote to all inflatable equipment hire businesses and other businesses that may own or consider hiring inflatables within the borough, offering advice and guidance on the safe operation and management expected of this type of equipment, and reminding them of their responsibilities.

If the case comes to court and there is a conviction, the sentence would depend on a number of factors set out in the sentencing guidelines, including the size and type of business and the plea entered.

No date has been set for completing the investigation.

An inquest into Ava-May's death has been adjourned until September 20.

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