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Written by
on 18 May 2012

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Kate and Christophe Hollis are left feeling furious and let down after a coroner refused to let their lawyer ask questions in their child’s inquest this week. Their baby Tommy was tragically killed when a lamppost fell onto his push chair where he was sleeping. The accident was caused by a workman cutting through a supporting metal pole just five days before. The baby boy received mouth to mouth resuscitation at the scene but remained unconscious; he died in hospital two days later, the night before his 1st birthday.

The accident happened in Chiswick, London when his Nanny was waiting at the traffic lights to cross the road. Another lady, Mary Gregory, was also hit by the post as she waited to cross the road safely while taking her granddaughter out.

Parents Denied Opportunity to Call Key Witnesses to the Stand

At the inquest the parents Mr and Mrs Hollis were hoping to be allowed to ask vital questions through their lawyer to determine just what caused the accident. The coroner, Mrs Pygott, refused to allow the questioning, leaving the couple furious and distraught. A ruling of accidental death was given by Mrs Pygott, no witnesses or council workers were called to the stand and the plea for a verdict of unlawful killing or an open verdict fell on deaf ears.

Civil Action Will Be Taken to Find Answers

The couple’s lawyer, Sally Moore, said that they would be launching legal action against those responsible for the accident. She went on to say that there were some important questions such as why there wasn’t a qualified engineer present when the workman cut through the metal pole which was supporting the lamppost.  This was just one of the questions that they were hoping to be addressed at the inquest.

Public Safety

The jury did hear that the workers who were carrying work in Chiswick were being pressured to get the work done as quickly as possible. This was due to voting which was going to be taking place at the nearby town hall for the 2010 general elections.  After the incident the workman, Kevin Elmore, who was responsible for cutting the metal pole was found guilty of gross misconduct by McNicholas, the construction firm he was employed by. Mr Elmore was given a written warning and has said that he wished he could take the place of baby Tommy after being wracked with guilt ever since the incident.

When the coroner gave her verdict of accidental death she said there was not enough evidence to support manslaughter.  Mrs Pygott went on to say if there had been enough evidence she would have sent the case back to the Crown Prosecution Service. She also decided not to issue any recommendations that the safety of lamppost should be checked by councils as it would be expensive and add extra burdens onto the councils.  In addition to these points she also stated that the hearing wasn’t the place for health and safety statutory liability.

Avoid Accidents with Controlled Working Methods

Carrying out the right procedures is vital to help protect the lives of others. If you are concerned about the health and safety policies being implemented in your workforce you can receive training and advice from health and safety consultants to help avoid tragic incidents like this one. Call 0800 1488 677 and find out more about health and safety services today.

About 

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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