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Maldon death pool operator prosecuted under Health & Safety Act

PUBLISHED: 13:36 28 August 2012

Michelle Gellard

Michelle Gellard

Archant

The operators who run a swimming pool where a little girl from the Isle of Dogs was drowned four years ago are being prosecuted.

Seven-year-old Michelle Gellard had been to a judo competition with her mum at the Blackwater Leisure Centre in Maldon, Essex, then went swimming when the accident happened in June, 2008.

Leisure Connection Ltd is being prosecuted under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act and is to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on September 11.

They are accused of breaching Section 3 of the Act which states that it is the duty of all staff to ensure the safety of persons other than employees, such as visitors and the general public.

The case is likely to be passed on to the Crown Court, the Health & Safety Executive confirmed today.

Michelle was a keen member of the Docklands Dragons judo club on the Isle of Dogs who had won a silver medal in a contest at the Blackwater centre that day.

She went for a swim afterwards, but was found floating face down under the water.

A lifeguard and a St John Ambulance crew attending the judo contest treated her at the side of the pool after she was pulled from the water.

But she died later at Colchester Hospital.

Her parents, Mark Gellard and Sian Lakey, said in a statement at the time: “She was a cheeky little madam with attitude who could make anyone laugh, but was also a loving, helpful and confident little girl.”

Candles were lit and special assemblies were held at Millwall’s Harbinger Primary school where Michelle, from nearby Seyssel Street, was a pupil.

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