Wheel of death case sent for trial

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A MAN accused of stealing a circus act known as The Wheel of Death has had his case committed to crown court.

Jeremy St John Vanderwesthuizen, 25, formerly of Central Drive, Blackpool, now living at Eskrick Street, Bolton, is accused of stealing The Wheel of Death act valued at £29,000 from his uncle Wayne Vanderwesthuizen at Blackpool between November 11 and 20 last year.

He is also alleged to have stolen a Ford Iveco van valued at £2,500 from his uncle.

Prosecutor Pam Smith’s application that the case be committed to crown court was not opposed by defence lawyer Michael Ball.

Vanderwesthuizen was bailed to appear at Preston Crown Court on April 26 by District Judge Nick Sanders sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.

The Wheel of Death is a steel construction consisting of either two or three wheels connected by spokes. Performers balance in or on the wheels, which revolve at high speed.

The act has often been performed at Blackpool Tower Circus, where on Boxing Day 1994 20-year-old Neville Campbell died after slipping from a wheel during the act. The act has also been performed in Europe and is billed as “the best aerial stunt act in Europe.”