North West Wales

Girl, 6, killed by dad driving tractor in Aberdaron, Gwynedd

Teal David

A father has told an inquest how he accidentally ran over his six-year-old daughter after she fell from their tractor while on holiday in Gwynedd.

The Caernarfon inquest heard Evan David, of Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire was giving his three children a ride as a "treat" in Aberdaron.

But Teal fell off a footplate and her father said he "panicked" and the tractor lurched forward over her.

The coroner recorded a conclusion of misadventure.

The hearing was told the family was staying at a property owned by Mr David's parents - a place where they would regularly visit for holidays.

Mr David, a vet, had bought an old tractor to move a boat to and from a beach, and stored it in a neighbouring farm.

In June last year, he went to collect the tractor and drove off "very, very slowly" with his three children, the inquest heard.

One child was sat in his lap, another on a toolbox near the driver's seat, and his daughter Teal was standing on a footplate.

'I panicked'

He told the coroner's court how the tractor "jerked" as he drove towards the home where he once lived, along a country lane in the village at the tip of the Lleyn Peninsula.

Clearly emotional, he said: "She fell off and hit the concrete. I stopped and she didn't get up... whether I panicked and didn't get it out of gear... I ran over her..."

Image copyright Geograph/Eric Jones
Image caption The family were on holiday in Aberdaron

The Nuffield tractor, which was approximately 49 years old at the time of the incident, was checked by police investigators and no mechanical defects were found.

The inquest heard it used a hand throttle which had no return spring, unlike modern vehicles.

It is possible therefore, that although he used the brakes to stop, he may not have returned the throttle, and if he then released the brake, the tractor may have lunged forward.

'Giving a treat'

The inquest was told the cause of Teal's death was a crush injury to the chest, caused by the tractor's large rear wheel going over her.

Summing up, Dewi Pritchard Jones, senior coroner for north west Wales, said: "The tractor lurched forward and Teal was run over.

"Several explanations have been discussed but there was no clear evidence of what exactly is the cause."

Expressing his condolences to Mr David, the coroner told the inquest: "Mr David was giving his children a treat of a ride on a tractor. As a child I myself had several rides on tractors.

"But this entirely innocent and not reckless task led to the entirely unforeseen event of Teal falling off the tractor and suffering injuries that led to her death."

He told the father: "It must have been a terrible experience for you.

"I can't think of anything worse happening to a father than what you have been through."

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