Boy died from head injuries probably caused by home fall
Boy died from head injuries probably caused by home fall Comments(0)
A TEENAGE boy found with severe head injuries may have fallen while trying to get back into his house after accidentally locking himself out, an inquest heard.
George Dunning was found in his garden by a neighbour and was airlifted to hospital where he died the following day.
The 17-year-old had not been at Piggott School in Wargrave that day after being sick three times during the night, the Windsor inquest heard.
Hayley Bartlett, who found the boy outside his home in Saunders Close, Twyford, on November 28, said he was lying on his back and with no shoes or socks on.
Ms Bartlett said: “He was partially on the grass in the front garden and partially on the path. His feet were pointing towards the front door and there was blood coming from his nose, mouth and both ears.
“He did not respond when I called him and was thrashing his legs about and struggling as if trying to get up.”
George’s mother Wendy Dunning arrived shortly afterwards having returned home from work early because she had been concerned about her son after speaking to him on the phone.
In a statement read out at the hearing, she said: “He took a long time to answer the phone and sounded sleepy as if he was disorientated.
“He seemed not to answer when I asked if he was okay. He kept saying ‘what’ and then he said, ‘Oh my God, oh my God’. That panicked me a lot. He said he was all right but I decided to leave work and return home immediately.
“It took about 12 minutes and I saw my neighbour kneeling down next to George, who was lying on his back outside our front door.
“When I knelt beside him I could see that he was fitting and bleeding from the mouth and ears.
“We are at a loss as to what happened on the Monday during the day to cause George to sustain his injuries.”
George continued to suffer fits as he was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford by air ambulance. He underwent a craniotomy but died the following day.
Pathologist Ashley Fegan-Earl gave the cause of death as severe head injuries consistent with the impact from a fall. He ruled out any third party involvement, saying: “The head was moving at the time of impact. This is not a stroke to a static head with an object.”
Police noted that the front door of the house was closed and had been locked from the outside. The first floor windows were all locked from the inside.
In the attic, where George’s bedroom was, all the windows were shut and locked apart from one at the rear which was wide open.
However, the roof below the open window showed no signs of disturbance and there was no sign of disturbance in the garden.
Sgt Stefan Kristiaan, who attended the scene, said: “I noticed some earth lying on the slab which looked out of place. It looked as though it had been dropped from something recently.
“It also seemed a little odd that the attic window was open as it was a relatively cold day.
“At the front of the roof there was a piece of plastic guttering. One part was twisted out of shape for a distance of 1m. That was just above the line where the main patch of blood appeared on the ground.”
Pc Jason Fisher said: “It looked as if the guttering had been pulled or pushed down and it was clear that the compost found on the ground was similar to that in the guttering.
“We believe that George must have been climbing around the property when he fell, which ties in with the scuffs on his body.
“There could have been balance and decision-making impairment due to the fact that he had been unwell.
“If he had gone out of the front door and it had closed behind him he would have been locked out but there is no reason why he would have needed to attempt to climb on the roof.
“The spare key kept in the back garden was present and to gain access to the key at the rear he would have only had to go to the rear of the house and climb up on the wall as the kitchen door was open.”
Pc Fisher said George may have been able to grab hold of the guttering from the ground but added: “There is no obvious explanation as to why he was out of the property, for the broken gutter or the mess on the path apparently from the guttering.”
Recording a verdict of accidental death, Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford said: “George was a sensible young man who knew not to climb on to the roof of the house.
“We can say with certainty that while home alone he has apparently locked himself outside the front of the property as he was not dressed for the temperatures.
“It seems that the front door has closed behind him. Maybe he had suffered the injuries at the time he was speaking to his mother. Perhaps that is why he was confused and said, ‘Oh my God.’
“It is difficult to fully explain but we can say that the injuries that led to his death are most likely to be from a fall from a height, not from a standing position.
“It is logical that having found himself locked out, the obvious step for him to take would have been to climb the wall and access the back door or the hidden key.
“Perhaps as he was unwell he fell and suffered a head injury then struggled back round to the front of the property, possibly reaching up to the guttering and falling, which would fit with the way in which he was found.”
Mr Bedford said such a fall would have created further injury, which would explain the blood at the scene.