'I lost my little girl because of council’s failure to carry out playground checks'

Themother of a five-year-old girl who died when a rotting playground swing collapsed said today she is “truly disappointed” at failings by Tower Hamlets council that led to her child’s death.

Alexia Walenkaki was playing with school friends in Mile End Park a day before her sixth birthday when the crumbling log swing broke and struck her on the head -writes standard.co.uk

A jury at St Pancras coroner’s court yesterday found poplar wood riddled with fungi has been wrongly used to make the equipment instead of oak, and that the council had missed an annual safety check on the playground 10 months before the fatal incident.

Speaking after the hearing, Alexia’s mother, Vida Kwotuah, said: “It is clear to me now that there were many failings here. I am truly disappointed to learn how chaotic and disorganised management was within the council, which no doubt led to the missed annual inspection in 2014.

Short life: Alexia Walenkaki died a day before her sixth birthday (Glenn Copus )

“Because of these failings I have lost my little girl.”

Ms Kwotuah said the death, on July 17, 2015 had “shook the foundations of our family”, and she was forced to relive the “horrible” incident during the two week-long inquest.

She added: “We hope that lessons have been learnt and safeguards are now in place to ensure that no further annual inspections are missed.

“We also hope that checks are made when new equipment is installed, to make sure it is done properly. Children have a right to play safely in public playgrounds.”

The Crown Prosecution Service said in March this year that no one would face criminal charges over Alexia’s death despite the failings uncovered.

John Biggs, mayor of Tower Hamlets, said the council “accepts and respects” the jury’s verdict. “Following Alexia’s death, we made urgent safety checks of equipment at all council-run play facilities across the borough,” he said.

accidents TowerHamletscouncil playgroundswing
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
1 view in november
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Police have launched a manhunt after religious idols and Diwali donations were stolen from two north London temples in early morning raids. The Met said the early morning burglaries were being treated as linked and released a CCTV image of a hooded suspect on Saturday. Officers also urged faith leaders to be vigilant against future incidents. The first happened at the Shree Swaminarayan Temple in Willesden Lane, Brent, on November 9. While the priests were...
Rail commuters have been told not to attempt to travel into London Waterloo after engineering works overran. South Western Railway (SWR) passengers using the route into London Waterloo from Surbiton were warned not to travel on Monday morning. Disruption is expected to last for the entire day and the Network Rail engineering works will not be finished until 8.39am at the earliest.  The rail operator said Woking, Surbiton, Raynes Park and Earlsfield station...
Some 82 people have been arrested after hundreds of protesters gathered in central London in attempts to block five bridges on Saturday, as they demanded the Government take greater action on climate change. The group Extinction Rebellion encouraged people to perform a sit-in across Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth bridges on following a co-ordinated week of action around the UK. Following their closures, all bridges have now reope...
Almost one million crimes of fly-tipping were reported by councils across England during 2017-18, the first fall in five years. Councils recorded 997,553 incidents of illegal dumping, an average of more than 2,700 a day. It was a slight decrease on the 1,011,000 in 2016-17 and is the first time the figure has dropped since 2013. The government said two-thirds of fly-tipping involved household waste. It did not reveal the total cost to taxpayers of clearing...
Children living in London boroughs with high diesel pollution suffer from stunted lung capacity, putting them at risk of early death, a study has said. Pupils living in areas that failed to meet EU nitrogen dioxide limits were at increased risk of lung disease, researchers found. The research studied 2,000 London school children over five years. "We are raising a generation of children reaching adulthood with stunted lungs," researchers said. Academics fro...
A private school teacher has been left partially blind after another woman smashed a glass in her face during a night out.  Lisa Bertsch, 30, was at the Be At One bar in Richmond when she was hit in her right eye. The tumbler shattered and left Ms Bertsch, who lives with her boyfriend in Kingston, needing emergency surgery. She said the attack happened when she tried to stop the assailant pouring a cocktail over her friend’s belongings. Ms Bertsch added th...
Discarded syringes have been left in play areas and car parks as a BBC investigation found councils were being called 50 times a day to remove them. Figures obtained by the BBC showed councils handled 18,496 cases in 2017-18, a rise of 7% in two years. A volunteer pricked by a discarded needle has told how he faces a wait for HIV and hepatitis test results. The Department for Communities and Local Government said it was "committed to doing more to reduce d...
The German Zeppelin bombing campaign of London during WWI has been brought to the fore again days before the centenary of the war in a film made by schoolchildren. The first ever example of strategic bombing in history - a tactic used in total war with the goal of defeating the enemy by destroying their morale or economy - was during the First World War Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II initially banned attacks on the capital because of his close connection to the...
London’s busiest train station has recruited a hawk to scare off pigeons following a spate of complaints from angry passengers. Aria, a five-year-old harris hawk, has begun patrolling Waterloostation in a bid to stop people having to “fight" off pigeons while eating. There are 27 food and drink retailers at the Network Rail-managed station, and many customers have complained about pigeons pecking at food and leaving a mess. The birds have been pictured sit...