Verdict of accidental death in jumping fatality

February 24, 2011

A British jury has returned a verdict of accidental death in the inquest into the death of 15-year-old Jade South, who died in a horse trials accident.


Jade South.
The jury found the horse clipped an unpinned fence and the horse somersaulted over the jump, landing on Jade and crushing her.

Gloucestershire deputy coroner Derek Dooley then discharged the jury.

The accident happened during a riding lesson on October 30, 2008.

Her black gelding, Oz, hesitated as he approached the jump. Jade, a schoolgirl from Linton, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, pushed him on.

He jumped, but he clipped the jump and somersaulted, landing on top of Jade, who remained in the saddle. She suffered catastrophic chest and heart injuries and died almost immediately.

A health and safety inspector for the Forest of Dean District Council, Keith Lesley, said the fence was movable and eventing best practice dictated that it should have been fixed to the ground.

However, the fact it was not fixed did not contribute to the accident cause.

No health and safety regulations were breached, he said.

Jade was a long-time member of the South Herefordshire and Ross Harriers branch of the Pony Club.

She had been looking forward to a career with horses after completing work experience at an equine hospital. She was a pupil at John Kyrle High School, and lived with her parents Paul and Claire and 12-year-old brother, Robert, in Linton.

In a statement following the accident, her parents said her "love of horses outweighed everything else, even to the extent of choosing to miss a family holiday to attend Lea Show!"

"In 1999 Jade joined South Hereford and Ross Harriers Hunts branch of the Pony Club and weekends were never the same again. She attended many rallies and camp every year where she enjoyed helping younger members.

"She was honoured to have represented the branch at area level in show jumping, eventing and stable management.

"... she progressed to at affiliated level in show jumping. Numerous trophies have adorned the dresser over the years including the Robert Okell Memorial Plate at Harewood End Show.

"We would like to say a big thank you to the ever friendly people we have known throughout Jade's life, both children and adults. We have 15 years of memories of her as a wonderful daughter and sister to cherish and comfort us."