[T]he boss of Gelt Gladiator has been handed a suspended jail term after five people were seriously hurt during the endurance challenge.
One female competitor suffered a fractured neck and was left with “life-changing” injuries, while a man sustained a broken collarbone. Three other participants were left with broken or dislocated lower limbs.
Carlisle Crown Court heard all five casualties needed hospital treatment – and were left to deal with lasting effects – after the inaugural event, in May 2015, went “badly wrong”.
Director Mike James, 42, who runs what has become an annual mud-filled obstacle challenge attended by thousands, near Brampton, admitted being responsible for a “catalogue” of errors. These the court heard, included failing to risk assess the two obstacles on which all injuries occurred – Mud Bomb and Avalanche 2.
On Avalanche 2, two of the casualties were hurt after plunging head-first down a slide into too-shallow water. Low water depth was also a key factor at Mud Bomb which, the court heard, remained open hours after the first incident and was the scene of two more.
James, of Knowe Road, Stanwix, Carlisle, was sentenced today (THURS), having previously admitted two health and safety breaches.
He was said to have since made major safety changes at the venue, and there had been no recorded injuries or incidents at the 2016 or 2017 events.
A 10-month prison sentence was suspended for two years by Judge Peter Hughes QC. James must complete 250 hours’ unpaid work, observe a 15-week night-time curfew and pay £20,000 costs.
Judge Hughes told him: “It is an appalling catalogue of injury that proper planning and careful supervision on the day should have prevented.”