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Dover funfair tragedy: Mackenzie Croxford-Cook died of crush injuries on ride

Questions have been raised over the security of a fairground ride on which a teenage boy was killed.

Mackenzie Croxford-Cook, 14, died after being crushed by the ride at a funfair in Dover.

Mackenzie Croxford-Cook
Mackenzie Croxford-Cook

Emergency services were called to the scene in Pencester Gardens on the morning of August 3, to reports the young teen had been found trapped on the ride.

He was brought down, but died at the scene.

A post-mortem examination said his injuries were consistent with his chest being crushed, with his cause of death being defined as a traumatic rupture of the liver and spleen.

Today, an inquest into his death raised issues over the fact Mackenzie and his friends were able to access the funfair and the ride itself in the early hours of the morning, with little security to prevent them from accessing the mechanisms of the ride.

Coroner Katrina Hepburn said she needed to gather more evidence to consider whether she needed to make a recommendation to prevent similar incidents happening in the future.

Messages paid tribute to Mackenzie at the scene. Photo: UKNIP
Messages paid tribute to Mackenzie at the scene. Photo: UKNIP

“I have enough evidence to go ahead with the inquest, but it would leave the question over whether or not a prevention of future deaths order would be needed,” she explained.

She added that she would quiz the ride operator David Shufflebottom, as well as Dover District Council, over whether full fencing was - or should have been - required at the ground in Pencester Gardens.

“It is a concern and I need to make sure I look into these issues,” Ms Hepburn added.

“It is not definitive that I will make a [prevention of future deaths] report but I have an obligation to look into it.”

The inquest was adjourned until a date yet to be decided.

Mackenzie, from Deal, was described as a "beautiful, special boy" following his death.

Speaking to KentOnline, his heartbroken nan, Debbie Harris, said her "thoughtful, loving" grandson would "always be in our hearts".

The fairground ride connected with the incident was removed. Photo: David Joseph Wright
The fairground ride connected with the incident was removed. Photo: David Joseph Wright

For more information on how we can report on inquests, click here.

"He was always happy to help others - it was something he took great pride in," she added.

"He is loved dearly by his family, and was a very affectionate boy, never afraid to tell his family that he loved them."

Mackenzie grew up in Deal from the age of six, attending the town's St Mary’s primary school and later the Goodwin Academy.

His nan said he enjoyed maths and science.

"He was very smart, and a hard worker – at least when he wanted to be!" said Debbie.

"His friends were among the most important things for him; he loved being outdoors with as many of them as possible.

"He was always entertaining others and joking around, making everyone laugh.

"We have been inundated with people saying how much his loss has impacted them – he is loved more than he could possibly imagine, will forever be missed, and will always be in our hearts and minds.

"He is our beautiful, special boy."

Tributes to Mackenzie were left near the scene of his death, with notes paying homage to his character.

The ride connected to the tragedy was removed from the funfair after the tragedy.

A spokesperson for Forrest Amusements, which runs the fair, said at the time the company was "deeply saddened " by Mackenzie's death.

"Our thoughts and sympathy are with the boy’s family at this terrible time," they said.

"As a family-run funfair, this incident has affected us all.

"We would like to thank all the emergency services that attended that day, who did everything they possibly could, and we are very grateful to each and every one of them."

The Health and Safety Executive made inquiries into the incident but an investigation was not launched as it was deemed not to be work-related.

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