AJ Pritchard-Allen killed by pick-up on Soham farm

AJ Pritchard-Allen Image copyright Family photo
Image caption AJ Pritchard-Allen died on 20 April 2018

A three-year-old boy was killed by a pick-up truck used by his father which had been left in gear, a court heard.

Anthony Pritchard-Allen, known as AJ, died while visiting the farm his father Joseph Pritchard worked on near Soham in Cambridgeshire on 20 April 2018.

An inquest in Huntingdon heard that after the ignition to the Toyota Hilux was turned following refuelling, the vehicle moved forward and struck AJ, who was pronounced dead in hospital.

A jury found his death was an accident.

Assistant coroner Simon Milburn said that AJ had been taken by his mother Tanya Allen to visit his father at the end of his shift as a gamekeeper.

The court heard that no-one else was working on the farm at the time, and that while Ms Allen left the farm for a "very brief period", Mr Pritchard went to refuel the Toyota from a tank at about 19:30 BST.

"It seems that during this refuelling process the vehicle was left in gear and when the ignition was subsequently turned on the Toyota moved forward, striking AJ who was stood in front of it," Mr Milburn said.

'No defects'

AJ was pronounced dead at hospital at about 21:00 BST and a post-mortem examination recorded his cause of death as blunt traumatic injuries to the head, chest and abdomen.

Farm owner Nigel Howe said that the vehicle was for use by all workers but was predominantly used by Mr Pritchard, who he described as an "excellent worker".

PC Simon Burgin, a forensic collision investigator, said that it was "not unusual" for farm vehicles to have their handbrakes left off.

No mechanical defects were found and Mr Burgin confirmed that no offences were being investigated.

The Health and Safety Executive had also not identified any breaches.

AJ's mother Ms Allen described her son as an "outdoor boy" and said: "Every day is a painstaking reminder of what life could have been.

"We miss him so much and now know that he was only leant to us and we couldn't keep him.

"Our family unit is a little less now but we will forever love and miss our beautiful little man."

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