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Families'anger over `killer fence' Barrier blamed for deaths.

Byline: Deborah James

THE families of two people killed at a notorious accident blacks pot last night called for a wooden fence to be removed from alongside the road where they died.

Relatives of Lana Gittens who died last week, and restaurateur Mario Campagnuolo, killed five years earlier, believe they would still be alive today if not for the barrier.

A horizontal rail along the four feet-high fence is believed to have been a factor ins everaldeaths on the coastal road between Formby and Southport.

Fire officers say that sections of the barrier have frequently been forced through windscreens, rather than cushioning the blow as ametalcrashbarrier would.

But despite calls from local councillors , police and fire officers, Sefton Council has always maintained the fence is not hazardous.

Mr Campagnuolo, 58, died in April, 1998, when a wooden rail sliced through the bonnet of his car and hit him in the chest and nec

after he lost contr ol of his Ford Fiesta van at 30mph.

Last night, his ne phew Roberto Anelli, 41, who co-owned Mario and Roberto's spaghetti house with his unc le on Avondale Road in Southport, said: ``I am very ang ry, Mario was my business partner, my unc le and my best friend and I believe if that barrier hadn 't been there he would still be alive today.

``When Mario died I spoke to a policeman who told me this has happened before and they asked the council to take it out. Now five years later people are still dying and the council has done nothing about it.''

Amusement arcade worker Lana Gittens, 28, died last week when her Fiat Uno collided with the fence at the same spot, on a straight stretch between Liverpool Roadand Pinf old Lane ,Ainsdale .

The council has temporarily removed around 300mof the rail as a ``precautionary measure'' while it in vestigates theincident.

Speaking from Lana's parents' home in Shaftsbury Aven ue,Birkdale last night, her partner, Carol Slater, 37, said: ``We are very ang ry.

``We want to know why these fences weren 't removed before and if the council knew there was a problem. It hasn't taken them long to remove it after she died, so why couldn 't they have done it earlier?''

Lana's funeral was held yesterday at St John 's Church in Liverpool Road,Southport.

Ainsdale ward councillor Brenda Porter said she had received complaints from residents about the fence for the past eight years.

She said: ``We will not be dropping this issue and it will not go away.'' Anthony Curtis, a sub-officer at Formby Fire Station, called for the fence to be chang ed at a meeting with technical services officers two months ago .

He says he was told following a risk assessment the council did not see the fence as a potential hazard.

Colleague Simon Chapman, sub officer at Southport fire station, has also raised concerns about the horizontal bars which are attached to the posts with metal brackets. A spokesman for Sefton Council confirmed the barrier had been removed as a precautionary measure while an in vestigation was carried out.

CAPTION(S):

BLAMED: Workmen removing part of the fence which has been blamed for the deaths of several motorists
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 16, 2003
Words:538
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