Search

No prosecutions against Tower Hamlets Council for death of Alexia Walenkaki, 5, in Mile End playpark, CPS tells mother

PUBLISHED: 16:22 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:30 06 March 2018

Alexia Walenkai, aged 5 when she died. Picture source: Walenkai family

Alexia Walenkai, aged 5 when she died. Picture source: Walenkai family

Walenkai family

No criminal charges are likely over a five-year-old girl killed when a swing frame collapsed in a children’s playground—despite Tower Hamlets Council “breaching its duty of care”, the mother has been told this week.

The playpark at Mile End the day after Alexia's accident in July, 2015. Picture: Mike BrookeThe playpark at Mile End the day after Alexia's accident in July, 2015. Picture: Mike Brooke

Alexia Walenkaki was using a rope swing in Mile End playpark when the supporting log crushed her—in front of her horrified mother.

But any corporate manslaughter charges can only be brought if breaches in safety resulted from failures among senior management, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The fault was due to junior employees and the contractor who designed and fitted the equipment, Alexia’s mother Vida Kwotuah, 45, has been told in a letter from the CPS.

Family snapshot of Alexia on a rope swing. Picture source: Walenkai familyFamily snapshot of Alexia on a rope swing. Picture source: Walenkai family

Alexia suffered cardiac arrest when the rotting wooden beam supporting in the rope swing came crashing down and struck her head. She died an hour later at the Royal London Hospital on July 17, 2015—the day before her sixth birthday.

The accident in the Rhodewell Road playpark happened less than half-a-mile from the family’s Limehouse home in Carr Street.

The CPS said in January that the council would not be prosecuted, but Alexia’s mother appealed and received an explanation in a letter explaining why.

Mile End playpark where the rope swing collapsed. Picture: Mike BrookeMile End playpark where the rope swing collapsed. Picture: Mike Brooke

“Nothing will ever replace what I have lost,” she said. “But it’s hard to keep fighting for what is right for so long and not getting anywhere.

“I just feel it’s not fair—all these wrongs have happened, yet nobody’s prosecuted.”

The CPS findings revealed a lack of annual inspections of the play equipment. The e wood from a poplar or willow tree was also unsuitable with a lifespan of three years. The log was fitted in 2011, four years before the accident.

A neighbour lays floral tribute to little Alexia at Mile End playpark in July, 2015. Picture: Mike BrookeA neighbour lays floral tribute to little Alexia at Mile End playpark in July, 2015. Picture: Mike Brooke

The log was from trees “known to decay relatively quickly and not suitable in a children’s playground”, according to the CPS letter. The worker who designed it “thought he was using oak”, while annual safety inspection had not been carried out since 2013.

Gross negligence manslaughter charges could not be brought because no individual could have foreseen an “obvious and serious risk of death”, the mother was told.

Tower Hamlets Council said in a statement to the East London Advertiser today: “The CPS is also yet to share its report with us. We cannot comment on the details of the case while Coroner’s proceedings are ongoing.”

A coroner’s inquiry started in 2016 is not expected to reach its conclusions on culpability until May. The Health and Safety Executive is also running an investigation.

Latest East London News Stories

Yesterday, 17:43

MPs opposing the Brussels Brexit deal joined campaigners converging on east London for today’s rally at the Excel centre calling for a People’s Vote on the controversial agreement being debated in Parliament on Tuesday.

Yesterday, 13:00

Thousands campaigners are converging on east London this afternoon for a rally calling for a People’s Vote on Brexit ahead of Tuesday’s crucial vote in Parliament.

Yesterday, 08:00

Letters, contributions and comments sent in to the Advertiser this week.

Brexit continues to dominate the political landscape and Tower Hamlets Council deserves praise for setting up its own commission to examine the potential economic and social impact that leaving the EU will have on the borough.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Mobility scooter and wheelchair users can receive free advice on staying safe while travelling on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).

Friday, December 7, 2018

Cinderella has brought the Christmas panto season to Mile End amid the eternal battle with her Ugly Stepsisters.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Researchers from Queen Mary University have helped create the Xingu Village installation taking visitors to the heart of Brazil’s native communities.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Tower Hamlets has lost 75 pubs although more people are working in the trade, figures have revealed.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Are you a landlord looking for a fixed rental income, paid whether the property is empty or not? Steve Westley, general manager at estate agents Elliot Leigh, explains their Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it takes the stress out of letting your property.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now