Mother calls for Tower Hamlet Council to face charges over daughter’s playground death

Alexia Walenkaki
Alexia Walenkaki died when a rotting playground swing collapsed on her in Mile End park in July 2015. Photograph: Family handout

The mother of a five-year-old girl who died following a tragic playground accident in July has called on Tower Hamlets Council to admit responsibility for the child’s death.

Alexia Walenkaki was playing on a rope swing in Mile End Park on 17 July when the tree trunk to which the rope was tied collapsed and fell on her, later resulting in her death in hospital.

Vida Kwotuah, Alexia’s mother, wants Tower Hamlets Council to be charged with corporate manslaughter after a testimony given in a pre-inquest hearing stated that the playground had not been inspected for a year and nine months.

The council is responsible for the maintenance of the playground.

“Alexia should have been safe. I think her death could have been preventable if that park had been inspected and maintained as it should have been,” the family’s legal representative Emily Welstead, from Hodge, Jones and Allen Solicitors, told the BBC.

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs said: “‘The joint investigation by the police and the Health and Safety Executive into this tragic incident is still ongoing and we will have to wait for their report. However, the council has now made checks of equipment at all council run play facilities and there is regular maintenance and monitoring of park and play equipment.”

The charge of corporate manslaughter, introduced into Britain in 2008, enables a corporation to be punished and censured for culpable conduct that leads to a person’s death.

The inquest into Alexia’s death is to begin in April 2016.

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