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homeThursday 23rd March 2017

Community order following human cannonball death

Stuart Spear11/01/2017 - 16:07

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Matthew Cranch who died in a tragic accident
Matthew Cranch who died in a tragic accident

The director of a stunt firm has been given a 12-month community order following prosecution by Maidstone Council after an employee died in a stunt that went tragically wrong.

Stuntman Matthew Cranch, 24, suffered multiple injuries after being fired into the air out of a cannon into a safety net that failed to support him as he hurtled to the ground.

The company director Scott May,40, pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches along with a guilty plea for his company Stunts UK Ltd. In addition to the community order that included 150 hours of unpaid work the company was fined £100,000.

Both prosecution and defence agreed that sentencing should be referred to Crown Court. Costs were set at £80,000.

The canon was mounted on the back of a lorry during a stunt show at the Kent County Showground in April 2011. During the case the court heard that the net was supported by poles and anchored to the truck supporting the cannon. But when the vehicle recoiled under the force of the blast the net became detached and so was lying on the ground when Mr Cranch landed.

Mark Watson, prosecuting on behalf of Maidstone Borough Council told the court: ‘In a nutshell the prosecution’s case concerns failures in regard to the operation and design of the mechanism, training of staff and risk assessment.’

Mr Cranch, who lived in Newquay, Cornwall, had performed the act five times before and had joined the stunt team around four weeks before his death.

In mitigation Tanya Robinson said that hard working family man Mr May was ‘truly sorry’ to Mr Cranch’s relatives and that following the tragedy he was not sure whether he wanted to carry on with the business. 

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