EXCLUSIVE: Theme park where girl, 11, died be tried for manslaughter

EXCLUSIVE: Family-run theme park Drayton Manor where schoolgirl, 11, died after falling from water rapids ride could face manslaughter trial

  • Evha Jannath, 11, was killed on Splash Canyon during school trip in May last year 
  • Staffordshire police have given file of evidence of manslaughter to prosecutors 
  • After an alleged delay by staff at park near Tamworth, Staffordshire, Jannath was airlifted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital but died shortly after arrival

A family-run theme park where a schoolgirl died after falling from a water rapids ride could face prosecution for corporate manslaughter. 

A full file has now been handed to prosecutors by police who have been investigating the tragedy over the past 15 months. 

Evha Jannath, 11, was killed on the Splash Canyon during a school trip in May last year just four days after celebrating her birthday. 

Evha Jannath, 11, was killed after falling off a water rapids ride during a school trip in May 2017

She was killed on the Splash Canyon (pictured) at Drayton Manor near Tamworth, Staffordshire

The star attraction has remained closed ever since and may never reopen. 

The pupil from Leicester was jolted from a packed dinghy as she stood up to swap seats with a class mate but was flung into the five-feet-high choppy water and ‘sucked under’ by fierce rapids.

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After an alleged delay by staff at the popular park near Tamworth, Staffordshire, the youngster was rescued and airlifted unconscious to Birmingham Children’s Hospital but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service told MailOnline today: ‘We received a file of evidence from Staffordshire Police on 25 July in relation to an allegation of corporate manslaughter.

After the death of little Evha (pictured) the star attraction has remained closed ever since and may never reopen

This file will now be considered in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and a decision will be made in due course.’

News of possible criminal charges being brought against 70-year-old owner Colin Bryan, CBE, come as the long awaited full inquest into Evha’s death is due to be held in 10 days on August 20.

A post mortem examination revealed she had died from ‘blunt force chest trauma.’

Her devastated family say their ‘world has been torn apart’ and they still mourn her loss and ‘miss her every single hour or every single day.’

They have complained through their local MP about the length of time the investigation has taken are still considering bringing civil action against the park.

The family-run theme park could now face prosecution for corporate manslaughter

A spokesperson for Staffordshire Police, who have been conducting a painstakingly inquiry with safety experts, said: ‘We continue to investigate and work with the Health and Safety Executive. A file has been submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service and we are awaiting their considered response.’

The force’s Chief Inspector John Quilty described it as ‘ a very intense investigation’ as they try to establish exactly how the accident happened.

The CPS will decide over the coming weeks if there if enough evidence to prosecute. The theme park in picturesque Drayton Basset – the fifth biggest in the UK – was once the country estate of Sir Robert Peel, creator of the first British police force and a former Prime Minister.

The park, which is home to Europe’s only ‘Thomas Land’ and attracts up to 5,000-strong daily crowds at peak times, has been packed with families over the summer holidays.

Evha’s brother Muhammed Islam has a Pokemon glass, bowl and plate set which the 11-year-old bought at Drayton Manor with the £10 he gave her on the day she died

Drayton Manor previously said Splash Canyon would remain closed until the inquiry has ‘fully concluded and the facts established.’

A spokesperson for the Health and Safety Executive said: ‘The water ride is closed and there are no imminent plans for it to be reopened while our investigation is ongoing. There is a strong chance the ride will never open again.’

Evha’s university student brother Muhammed Islam, 20, said on the first anniversary of her death in May: ‘This is a difficult time for our family and the pain is still unbearable.’

After the tragedy which shocked the nation and forced the park to close for four days, the Watford-born victim’s heartbroken mum Musammath Nurun Nahar, 44, and dad Muhammed Suable Islam, 47, who is separated from his wife paid tribute to their ‘beautiful little girl who was full of love and always smiling.’

Leicester East MP Keith Vaz, who represents the family, said they were ‘very concerned about the delay’ in the investigation.

He said: ‘The concerns of the family are clearly that, one year on, the inquiries have yet to be completed and the coroner’s inquest has yet to take place.’

The 20-year-old said on the first anniversary of her death in May: ‘This is a difficult time for our family and the pain is still unbearable’

Mr Vaz, who called for tougher safety legislation for theme park water rides during a Commons debate, said discussions were under way. He added: ‘I am pleased that agencies are looking into the issue of safety in theme parks.’

Evha, who is of Bangladeshi heritage, was a pupil at the private Jameah Girls Academy in Leicester. Following the tragedy Drayton Manor Park issued a statement saying: ‘The terrible incident has left a family grieving and we continue to offer our deepest thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Evha Jannath.

‘We will continue to offer support to all those affected, including colleagues, and will provide all necessary assistance to the relevant authorities.’

A park spokesperson told MailOnline today: ‘No charges have been brought by the Police. We continue to cooperate fully with the HSE in its investigation and it would not be appropriate to comment further whilst the authorities carry out their ongoing inquiries. The Drayton Manor community remains deeply saddened by the incident and our thoughts continue to be with the family and friends of Evha Jannath.’

The theme park was founded in 1950 by George and Vera Bryan. The couple bought Peel’s country home, which by then had fallen into disrepair along with 80 acres of land for £6,000 in 1949 and turned it into a thriving attraction. Their son Colin has been MD since 1973 and awarded an CBE for his services. 

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