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first_imgManslaughter charges have been brought to court against the supervisors of a human catapult in Somerset, which in November 2002 tragically claimed the life of a first-year biochemistry student from Wadham. Kostadin Yankov, who had only come up to Oxford a few weeks previously, died after an event arranged through the Oxford Stunt Factory. His friends watched as ‘Dino’ fell “inches” short of the safety net, incurring serious spinal and leg injuries. He was immediately airlifted to Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, but died five hours later. It has emerged, however, that the device operators, Richard Wicks, 33 and David Aitkenhead, 45, may have been guilty of gross negligence. In Bristol Crown Court, the jury was told that the pair had been warned by an ambulance worker that there was cause for serious concern after four other students fell significantly short of the centre of the safety net. Despite this, they had taken no action to improve safety. Philip Mott, QC, prosecuting, described the defendants’ decision to use a new, untested, sling on the day of Mr Yankov’s death as “scarily reckless”. He speculated that “if the old sling had been used, Dino Yankov would have made it to the net.” The trial continues.ARCHIVE: 0th week TT 2004last_img read more