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Inquest into human cannonball death

A "human cannonball" stuntman was killed when a safety net intended to break his fall after he was fired into the air collapsed, an inquest has heard.

Matthew Cranch, 24, suffered multiple injuries after he plunged to the ground during Scott May's Daredevil Stunt Show, jurors were told.

Mr Cranch had been fired from a cannon mounted on a lorry in front of spectators at the Kent County Showground in Detling, Kent, on April 25 2011.

Outlining the case to jurors at the start of a three-day inquest, Mid-Kent and Medway coroner Patricia Harding said the safety net collapsed.

Ms Harding, speaking at the hearing at Archbishop's Palace, Maidstone, said: "Matthew Cranch himself was performing a stunt called the human cannonball.

"There is a cannon mounted on the back of a lorry and it is fired into a safety net nearby. In this particular case, as Matthew was fired out of the cannon, the net collapsed, causing Mr Cranch to land on the ground.

"He suffered multiple injuries and, tragically, he died at Maidstone Hospital that very same day. He had been attended to by St John Ambulance and other ambulance teams."

At the hearing were Mr Cranch's parents Michael and Pauline and his sister Eleanor, as well as Mr May, and representatives from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Maidstone Borough Council.

Ms Harding said a police inquiry launched following the death of Mr Cranch, who was originally from the Isle of Man but living in Cornwall at the time, was later handed over to Maidstone Borough Council who have "health and safety functions".

Kent Police announced back in December 2012 that no criminal prosecution would be brought over the incident.

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