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Stunt show not facing charges for Newquay 'human cannonball' death

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: December 14, 2012

SKY JOURNEY:  A 'human cannonball' performs a stunt similar to the one performed by Matt Cranch.

SKY JOURNEY: A 'human cannonball' performs a stunt similar to the one performed by Matt Cranch.

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A STUNT show will not face criminal charges following a year-long investigation into the death of a "human cannonball" from Newquay, police have confirmed.

Matt Cranch was taking part in his 12th event with Scott May's Daredevil Stunt Show on April 25 last year when a safety net reportedly collapsed while he was in mid-air.

Spectators then watched in horror as the 24-year-old plummeted more than 30ft to the ground at the Kent County Showground in Detling. Matt received emergency treatment but died later in hospital from multiple injuries.

Mid-Kent Police launched an investigation but announced last week that it would not be pursuing a criminal prosecution.

The case has now been referred to the local authority, Maidstone Borough Council, who will carry out an investigation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The Cornish Guardian was unable to contact a representative from Scott May's Stunt Show, based in St Just, before going to press.

More than 1,000 people have paid tribute to "legend" Matt on a Facebook page called RIP Matt Cranch 25.04.11 – and touching comments continued to pour in more than 12 months after his death.

The musician and VW enthusiast, originally from the Isle of Man, moved to Newquay in 2008 to soak up the surfing scene and quickly made dozens of friends.

Known affectionately as Wiggles by his pals, he worked as a barman at The Hotel in Watergate Bay until he landed his dream job with the stunt show.

Witnesses at the Kent showground reported seeing the safety net collapse moments after Matt was propelled into the air. The net was supported by poles and anchored to the truck supporting the "cannon".

The vehicle was seen to lurch from the recoil of the blast, causing the net to fall away. It was lying flat on the ground when Matt landed on his back with nothing to break his fall.

At the time, close friend Alan Webb paid tribute to Matt, saying he fulfilled a lifelong ambition to include the word "stuntman" on his CV.

"He used to say that being a stuntman was something he always wanted to put on his CV and he finally did it," he said. "He was a very happy, smiley guy who did crazy things. He will be greatly missed."

Scott May's father, Mike, said last year that the accident was the first accident of its kind in the show's 18-year history.

Experienced show commentator Graham Forder, said Matt had been fully trained before he began the job.

He said: "Matt couldn't have had better training from previous human cannonballs. He loved his work and couldn't wait to get in the cannon. He was a lovely lad."

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