16.1.20

Girl, 4, accidentally hanged after helmet caught a branch while climbing tree

Tragic Freya Thorpe died two days after the tragedy in Upper Heyford, near Bicester in Oxfordshire, on September 8, an inquest into her death heard.A tragic toddler was accidentally hanged when a branch became entangled in her pink unicorn bicycle helmet as she climbed a tree, an inquest heard.
Freya Thorpe, 4, was playing on September 8 when it happened in Upper Heyford, near Bicester in Oxfordshire.She was rushed to hospital but died two days later, Oxfordshire Coroners' Court was told. A passer-by found her and called 999, but medics were unable to save her life. She had been playing with a friend when it happened. A GoFundMe appeal set up after Freya's death has raised more than £21,000 for her family. A police investigation concluded that Freya had slipped on the bark of the tree. Her father, Chris, told a packed inquest room, full of relatives and police, that he was grateful for the support people had shown his family.
The communications company director, who was the proud father of young 10-day old twins when Freya died, told the inquest: "I would like to thank every single person who tried to assist my little girl."Me and my wife loved her more than life itself. We are doing our best to survive."Little Freya had been playing near her home on a green which was a popular area for young children from the local area.The active youngster, wearing pink clothes, was captured on CCTV parking her scooter next to a metal bench at the edge of the green and heading in the direction of a mature tree which was growing out from under a brick shed, a police investigator told the inquest.CCTV footage taken soon after showed a local dog usually described as docile running into the back garden where it started barking, growling and behaving out of character.
The inquest heard that at 2pm on September 8, Connor Everett was called to assist because other people at the scene were unable to lift Freya out of the tree where she was hanging from the pink unicorn helmet, suspended 127 centimetres off the ground. Mr Everett said: "I saw a girl, suspended in the 'v' of the tree trunk and branch, by the sides of the cycle helmet."By the time paramedics arrived at the scene, 25 minutes later, locals had been desperately trying to revive Freya using CPR. She was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where doctors decided to put her into an induced coma. Dr James Weitz had to tell Mr Thorpe and his wife Elise that Freya was dying, the statements from hospital staff showed.
Detective constable Bryn Smith, the officer investigating Freya's death, said: "Due to the sheer nature of the tree bark, not channelled or grooved as some bark is, it would have been a bit slippery to climb without appropriate footwear."This was nothing more than a child climbing a tree, perhaps losing her footing resulting in her helmet getting stuck in a branch and the helmet straps strangling her."It is cruel and it is unfair but this appears to be a terrible accident."Detective constable Smith added that the tree, which was deemed necessary to preserve for evidence, had since been cut down.
Concluding the inquest, Oxfordshire Coroner Darren Salter said: "Clearly no-one else was involved in this tragedy. A woman fainted and had to be carried out of the inquest while the coroner delivered his conclusion of accidental death. The coroner said: "I am sorry we have to refer to something which is clearly upsetting. I was simply going to say that Freya was in an area regarded as safe by the parents of children in the locality."When asked if he would like to add anything, Mr Thorpe, who sat with his wife and around 20 friends and family, gave a short statement. Mr Thorpe said: "We loved our little girl more than life itself. I would like to thank anybody that tried to help my little girl."Sometimes, life throws things at you that you cannot avoid. I only wish that things were different. I miss my little girl, as does my wife."Thank you for the way that this has been handled and thank you for everybody that has come to support us today. It means a lot."

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