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Teenager killed after not being told to remove her hijab which became entangled in go-kart

An inquest jury has concluded that 15-year-old Ruwaida Adan was killed after not being given safety advice to remove her hijab before riding a go-kart which had covers missing that exposed moving parts.

Posted on 27 October 2022

The coroner at her inquest has now issued a Prevention of Future Deaths report to Capital Karts, which is now based in Canary Wharf, raising concerns that the policies and procedures at the go-karting centre still pose a risk of further deaths and that action should be taken by the managing director. 

Ruwaida Adan

Ruwaida, of Newham, pictured, died after her hijab became entangled in a go-kart which she was riding at Capital Karts, which was then based in Barking, on 6 August 2021. The evidence heard at her inquest was that Ruwaida should have been instructed to remove that headscarf and checks should have been done, at various stages, to ensure she removed it. The inquest also heard evidence that the kart she was driving was in such a condition that it should not have been driven. 
Ruwaida was taking part in a day out at the karting track organised by a local youth scheme. She died from her injuries four days later on 10 August 2021 at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.
The jury at her inquest concluded that: “No safety check ensured that Ruwaida removed her headscarf before getting into her go kart. No daily mechanics check was carried out on August 6 2021. In Ruwaida’s kart the plastic drive belt guard to the rear axle was absent, and the rear seat shield was damaged. Both should cover exposed moving parts. Ruwaida’s headscarf became entangled in the moving parts resulting in her asphyxiation and her death on August 10 2021.”
Ruwaida’s family told the inquest that she had only recently started wearing a hijab and didn’t wear it all the time. They told the court that they were sure she would have taken it off if she had been told to do so by staff at the carting venue.
Following the inquest Assistant Coroner Leanne Woods issued a Prevention of Future Deaths report addressed to the managing director of Capital Karts raising a number of safety concerns. The coroner stated that despite hearing evidence at the inquest that the system at Capital Karts has now changed to require a headscarf to be removed and witnessed at reception, there are remaining issues of concern. 
The coroner’s concerns include: 

  • The current system relies on checks at reception, particularly in regards to long hair which could become untucked from a race suit
  • The current race director, who was race director in August 2021, stated it was a regular occurrence that track marshals did not spot loose clothing or hair hanging out of a race suit
  • CCTV of the pit lane on 6 August 2021 showed a number of people with hair hanging loose outside the race suits, as well as Ruwaida’s headscarf, but the duty manager said these were missed and he has no idea why
  • No evidence was given about changes to training or monitoring of track marshals.

The coroner commented that her concerns were increased by the evidence of the managing director of Capital Karts, Matthew Holyfield, who said at various points in his evidence that his staff “did their job”, followed their training and did the checks they were required to do. The corner said that as a result she was concerned about “Capital Karts’ understanding of, and commitment to, addressing the concerns identified by the inquest about the adequacy of checks on clothing performed by marshals”.
Ruwaida’s family said following the conclusion:
“Ruwaida was sweet and compassionate to everyone she met. She was so kind, thoughtful, caring, loving, strong and wise beyond her years. She was always speaking up for those who couldn’t speak up for themselves. She was always laughing and smiling – she had the most contagious laugh. 
“Losing Ruwaida has been the hardest thing we have ever been through and losing her so unexpectedly make is even worse. Not only has a big part of our family gone, but her death has caused us all so much pain that we are all changed forever. We miss Ruwaida every second of every day.”
Clare Campbell, partner at law firm Leigh Day representing Ruwaida’s family, added:
“Ruwaida’s family are grateful to the coroner for investigating the circumstances around Ruwaida’s death and to the jury for their conclusion which found that no safety checks or mechanics checks were carried out on the day she died. They also welcome the coroner’s Prevention of Future Deaths report and hope that Capital Karts acts swiftly on the coroner’s concerns to ensure no other family has to go through the agony of losing their loved one.”

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