Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Boy crushed by pillar box at Hartley Wintney travellers site

Star Hill travellers' site Image copyright Google
Image caption Mrs Smith said she checked on her sons shortly before the older boy called her for help

A toddler died after a cast-iron pillar box fell on him in the garden of his Hampshire home, an inquest has heard.

John Henry Smith was 19 months old when he was fatally injured at the permanent travellers' site in Hartley Wintney on 15 May.

He died in hospital after the Victorian-style box fell off its 2ft-high (60cm) plinth as he climbed on it.

Coroner Andrew Bradley recorded a verdict of accidental death and said John Henry died of a ruptured liver.

The youngster had been playing with his four-year-old brother, David James, when the accident happened.

'Glazed eyes'

Their mother, Jane Smith, said: "I remember his face and him looking at me.

"The moment I looked I realised the colour wasn't right, the colour had drained from him."

Mrs Smith and her uncle took the boy to their doctor's surgery before he was taken to Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey.

She said: "John Henry looked very glazed over the eyes, very white, yellowy, his eyes were open but he wasn't with us. His lips started to go blue."

Mr Bradley, coroner for North Hampshire, said: "I am sorry, the circumstances are perhaps those that a 19-month-old will get in.

"He's a climber, he's a bruiser and a do-er and, bless him, he's climbing on the post box.

"It's thought initially he's suffered a head injury, he has bleeding from the back of his head, that is the visible sign, what is not appreciated at that stage is the weight of the post box on the 19-month-old, it has crushed his liver, the effects of that would have been immediate.

"He certainly wouldn't have been aware of any of this at that stage, he is passing into unconsciousness and that would have happened very quickly."

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