Go-karting track operators, where 18-year-old girl died in out-of-hours session, admit health and safety breaches

Suzanne Cornwell

Suzanne Cornwell - Credit: Archant

A go-karting company in charge of a raceway where a teenager died in an out-of-hours session has admitted breaching health and safety laws.

Peterborough Raceway Ltd, which ran Cambridge Raceway in Caxton, pleaded guilty to a breach of section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Peterborough Crown Court today (October 24).

Paul Shinn, manager of the track at the time of the incident, also admitted a breach of Regulation 3(1)(b) Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Suzanne Cornwell, 18, of Hardwick, was fatally injured when her scarf got caught in the axle of her kart in December 2009. She died in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.

South Cambridgeshire District Council started the prosecution following the conclusion of a police investigation and an inquest.

Council investigators found there had been a lack of health and safety risk assessments which could be attributed to the company and a lack of staff training.

They also said safety briefings given by marshals were inadequate and on occasion there were inadequate numbers of marshals on duty.

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Cllr Mick Martin, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for environmental services, said: “This was a tragic accident and first and foremost our thoughts have been with the family throughout this difficult time and I hope the conclusion of this process will help them in some way. It was right, proper and in the public interest for us to pursue this case under Health and Safety legislation as, in our view, there were very clear shortcomings from the company in their practices.

“We hope our action sends a clear message to other companies that they need to take their responsibilities very seriously.”

Peterborough Raceway, which no longer operates the Royston Road site, and Shinn will be sentenced on November 4.