The grieving parents of a baby boy killed by a falling lamp-post which had part of its base severed by a workman have accused a coroner’s court of failing to provide answers about his death.
Tommy Hollis suffered a devastating head injury when the lamp-post toppled over onto his buggy, which was being pushed by his nanny in Chiswick, west London, on February 23, 2010.
He died in hospital 48 hours later, on the eve of his first birthday.
After deliberating for more than three hours, the inquest jury returned a verdict of accidental death yesterday, having been directed to do so by Coroner Elizabeth Pygott.
Ms Pygott had not allowed the jury to deliver a verdict of unlawful killing, despite submissions made on behalf of Tommy’s parents Kate and Chris Hollis.
Workman Kelvin Elmore, who was found guilty of gross misconduct by his company and given a written warning, had cut a metal plate supporting the post, thinking it was part of an abandoned tram line, the inquest at West London Coroner’s Court heard.
Mr Elmore, of construction firm McNicholas, did not give evidence in person during the three-day inquest after taking legal advice, but in a statement said he had never seen the unusual type of lamp-post support ever before, and he was devastated to have been involved, wishing he could have taken Tommy’s place.
Tommy’s parents, who also have an eight-month old son, Jack, are now pursuing legal action over the death and say their sorrow was “compounded” by the way the inquest was conducted.
Their lawyer Sally Moore said outside the court: “We will continue to ask the questions we believe were missed by this inquest. These include: why, when all involved realised this was no longer a straightforward job, there wasn’t a qualified engineer from London Borough of Hounslow co-ordinating and supervising the works?
“This was their lamp-post, their street works outside their town hall.”
The Health and Safety Executive is continuing to investigate.