Mum’s anger at ‘danger ride’ ruling five years after her son was almost killed

Kizzy Bean, mother of Reece Nee, who was thrown from the OrbitorExtreme ride at Stevenage's Sonisphere music festival in 2009
Kizzy Bean, mother of Reece Nee, who was thrown from the OrbitorExtreme ride at Stevenage's Sonisphere music festival in 2009

The mother of a Hemel Hempstead teenager who almost died after being thrown from an unsafe fairground ride says she is ‘bitter and angry’ that it took five years to bring those at fault to justice.

Kizzy Bean’s son Reece Nee suffered a catalogue of life-changing injuries – including a torn aorta, broken ribs and shoulder and shattered ankle – following the incident at Stevenage’s Sonisphere festival in 2009, when he was just 14.

The brand new ride – dubbed the OrbitorExtreme – was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive, which found a number of serious defects.

Ride manufacturer Perrin Stevens and examiners Dr Martyn Lacey and Frederick Meakin were prosecuted after admitting safety breaches earlier this month, and were ordered to pay thousands each in fines and legal costs.

But Kizzy said: “I am glad that there is finally some justice after waiting four years, I am still very bitter and angry that due to their negligence I very nearly lost my child.

“I understand that the judge can only fine the guilty party based on their means but I am shocked that they can carry on trading in the business after showing such incompetence, especially when a safety inspector’s job is so important to the safety of the public.

“I am actually disgusted that they can carry on in the same line of work and can only hope that they realise that they cannot play with people’s lives in this manner.

“I had to go through two weeks of hell not knowing if my son was going to come out of the operating room alive and then watching him as he lay in a coma after as his breathing deteriorated. After all this not a single apology has been offered our way.

“I would like the public to know the dangers of travelling fairgrounds, and that despite having safety checks carried out rogue inspectors do exist, rendering these checks pointless.

“I will never forget that day and despite the fact I am hugely grateful to the surgeons for saving my son’s life , myself and my son and our family have been deeply affected by this awful accident which could have and should have been prevented.”

Hemel Hempstead solicitors Pictons have now launched a civil claim on victim Reece’s behalf.

The branch’s personal injury specialist Melanie Neale said: “Kizzy does not understand why it has taken so long after this terrible accident for those responsible to come to trial.

“Although the Health and Safety Executive secured these convictions it does not provide any justice for Reece the victim, so we have launched a civil claim on his behalf.

“We have a very strong case, especially as all three defendants pleaded guilty as charged. Had the guilty parties been responsible and had done what they are supposed to do the accident would never have happened.

“It’s too easy for fairground owners and designers of rides to cut corners and this presents a terrible danger to the public.

“Reece was lucky not to have been killed, but he is still suffering from the effects of this terrible accident and I am determined, along with his mother, Kizzy, to get him the justice her deserveswhile warning other fairground operators – and the general public who find these rides so popular – that they can’t take risks with peoples lives in order to make more money.”